Sometimes, there’s good news in the world and today is one of those times: Volkswagen’s board of directors are expected to approve a plan Wednesday to bring back the Scout, this time as an EV brand with an SUV and pickup truck to kick off the new line.
Updated Wednesday, May 11, 3:27 p.m. EST - The reincarnation of the Scout is official according to a press release from VW. According to Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG:
After Volkswagen’s successful turnaround in the U.S., we are now taking the opportunity to further strengthen our position in one of the most significant growth markets for EVs. Electrification provides a historic opportunity to enter the highly attractive pick-up and R-SUV segment as a Group, underscoring our ambition to become a relevant player in the U.S. market.
Can you even believe it! This fantastic news comes to us via the Wall Street Journal:
Under the plan, which previously hasn’t been reported, the German company, a minnow in the U.S. but one of the largest auto makers in the world, is planning to launch a new Scout-branded electric sport-utility vehicle and a Scout electric pickup truck.
VW’s board of directors is expected to approve the plan on Wednesday, according to people familiar with the meeting’s agenda. The plan would see Scout operate as a subsidiary of VW in the U.S. alongside other VW brands—Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley.
The move would mark the first time that VW has created a new brand based in the U.S. VW’s leadership hopes the Scout name can help the company break into the hard-fought and highly profitable American market for big SUVs and pickup trucks. VW hopes to eventually sell up to 250,000 Scout-branded vehicles a year in the U.S., with production set to start in 2026, the people said.
International Harvester sold the proto-SUV Scout from 1961 to 1980, with the truck maker going belly up in 1985 after nearly 80 years of production. VW acquired what was left of International in 2020 with its purchase of Navistar International Corp. The Scout was a four-wheel drive alternative to the Jeep or Land Rover beloved to this day by enthusiasts for its rugged blocky design and expansive interior.
The wild popularity of the recently revitalized Ford Bronco (a direct competitor to the Scout back in the ’70s) has been real-world proof of a concept to bring back the Scout. I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the real world, as no one does cute, modern EV reimaginings of retro brands quite like VW (just look at the ID Buzz. No seriously, look at it!) An updated EV Scout would likely sell like hotcakes.
Volkswagen sales have long floundered in the U.S. Despite being the second largest automaker in the world, Volkswagen only captures 5 percent of the U.S. market every year. But 2021 was a turning point for the brand thanks to a lineup heavy in, you guessed it, profitable vehicles like CUVs and SUVs.
Last year’s $800 million swing to profitability has convinced the automotive giant that maybe there is money to be made in the land of the free after all. VW announced in March that VW of America is going to receive a $7.1 billion investment over the next five years, mainly to bring EVs to the U.S. The brand plans to introduce 25 new electric models by 2030, with hopes that 55 percent of its sales with be electric vehicles. There are also plans for a battery factory in the states.
With all this greater autonomy to build a lineup that appeals to U.S. tastes, VW of America’s first move is to bring back the Scout back. There isn’t much more on when we’ll see an actual Scout in the market, as Volkswagen is still setting up all the things a mini-automotive brand needs, like management and design teams. But once that’s all squared away and the rubber hits the road I can confidently say we will be incredibly Here. For. It.