Volkswagen has been talking about building an all-electric pickup truck for the U.S. market for a few years now, never quite committing to any solid plans. However, today the Wall Street Journal reported that VW’s board of directors is set to approve of a plan to revive the International Scout brand lineup of SUVs and pickup trucks, reinvented as EVs and sold stateside, in a move telegraphed by company executives back in September. Volkswagen later confirmed the move with an official announcement.
Just last month, VW’s U.S. chief Scott Keogh said an EV pickup in the U.S. was the “chance of a lifetime” for VW, teasing that the automaker could offer “alternatives and some new ideas into this great segment.” Back in February, VW CEO Herbert Diess said an EV pickup was a “good idea” in a Reddit interview. It would now appear all the talk hasn’t been for nothing.
At a dinner with media back in September, Volkswagen Group of America Chief Operating Officer Johan De Nysschen floated the idea of reviving the International Scout, after Volkswagen acquired control over the brand in July of last year. According to the Wall Street Journal, VW’s plan “would see Scout operate as a subsidiary of VW in the U.S. alongside other VW brands,” like Audi or Porsche. A teaser image posted to Instagram by VW designer Klaus Zyciora appeared to tease all-new Scout SUV and pickup truck EVs (see top of this story).
VW confirmed the images and the news with its own official press release on Wednesday. According to Arno Antlitz, CFO Volkswagen AG, the company “will be a separate unit and brand within the Volkswagen Group to be managed independently,” and it will begin development this year, set for production by 2026. A new SUV and pickup are in the works, and “will be designed, engineered, and manufactured in the U.S. for American customers.” VW’s new Scout SUV and pickup truck would face stiff competition from both its traditional competition and new startups.
It sounds like VW will seek a more hardcore off-road capability than its current lineup of EVs can manage, including the ID4. VW says it will develop “a new technical platform concept” for its “rugged” new vehicles. CEO Herbert Diess says the move will help VW “become a relevant player in the U.S. market.” The first prototypes will debut next year.
Rivian, Hummer, and Ford are already shipping their all-electric pickups and SUVs to customers, which would put VW’s Scout way behind by the time it gets out of development and into production. However, considering the current volume of demand for the off-road EV market, it’s likely the nostalgic appeal of the International Scout brand will have no problem moving units.
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