Update: ‘Why Scout’ section updated with dealers’ reactions.
Volkswagen Group is stepping up its game in the U.S. with a brand tailored for truck models: Scout. A Scout electric truck (pickup) will be the inaugural launch, and here’s everything we know about it so far:
When Volkswagen Group acquired Navistar in 2021, it inherited the rights to the iconic Scout brand (International Harvester Scout). For about five years, the company sought an opening in the truck (pickup) segment in America, showcasing two concept vehicles. Last year, it sensed a great opportunity with the badge that reminds people of the country’s first off-road SUV, CEO Dr. Herbert Diess told TechCrunch in an interview (via YouTube).
Volkswagen Group’s decision to launch its pickup truck in the U.S. under a separate brand, and keeping them in the dark, has not been well received by dealers. According to Automotive News, Volkswagen dealers are seeking an explanation from the company.
North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association President Robert Glaser wrote to Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Scott Keogh that the Scout announcement “produced instant dismay and concern among all VW dealers.” Glaser said that Volkswagen dealers getting the first opportunity to become Scout dealers would be “the clear expectation.” These dealer-level developments are also coming from Automotive News.
The Ohio Auto Dealers Association said in a letter that the situation is “untenable.” Texas Automobile Dealers Association President Darren Whitehurst wrote in a letter that introducing Scout models and not launching a VW pickup truck “is disconcerting and discounts” the Volkswagen brand portfolio. The Scout line-up “belongs with the VW dealers,” Whitehurst said.
Keogh has suggested the “rugged” platform of the Scout models could present an opportunity to launch similar non-Scout models from other brands. Needless to say, the Volkswagen brand would be the top contender for such a project.
The Volkswagen Group is looking to make its electric Scout truck and SUV as American as possible. The company will engineer these models in the U.S. under a separate U.S.-based company that operates independently. The German conglomerate has simply said that Scout models will sit on “a new technical platform concept” that offers “credibility beyond the existing Volkswagen Group portfolio.” It could be referring to the SSP Mechatronics platform, or perhaps a special platform that draws modules/elements from the SSP and MEB architectures.
The Scout electric truck will look nothing like any existing Volkswagen Group model. The company will design it from a clean sheet and ensure it looks like one of its toughest and most rugged models ever made. An official sketch has revealed this electric truck will feature a flat hood that could hide a voluminous ‘frunk,’ an upright face, a tight front overhang, vertical tail lamps, a sleek greenhouse, straight lines, and smooth surfaces.
The Scout pickup may not compromise on ground clearance and space, but its overall height might be quite low, thanks to the bespoke electric platform. Like most electric trucks, it will come in a crew cab version. There could be a market opening up for single cab and extended cab (light duty) electric trucks during the second half of the decade. Even though Scout will likely be a lifestyle brand, Volkswagen Group may not compromise on the capability of the trucks. From the initial sketches, it looks like it is designed to handle anything that comes its way at the job site.
Dr. Diess has suggested that the Scout electric truck will be Volkswagen Group’s most technologically advanced pickup. Speaking to TechCrunch, he hinted at features like a solar roof, vehicle-to-load (V2L), and rear-wheel steering for Scout models. A solar truck bed cover (as an accessory) could offer tangible range benefits, whereas features like rear wheel steering and the ‘Multi-Flex Midgate’ have been implemented already by GM on Ultium-based electric truck models.
Production and Release Date
Volkswagen Group has confirmed that it will build the Scout electric truck and Scout electric SUV in the U.S. What it hasn’t revealed is whether their manufacturing will take place at the existing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, or a new facility. The company needs to understand whether there is a need for a Greenfield factory, estimate the sales potential, and complete its market study before a decision in this aspect, Dr. Diess told TechCrunch.
According to a report from Manager Magazin, Volkswagen Group is looking at a second plant next to the existing U.S. factory. This production facility, which may increase the company’s annual production capacity in the U.S. to 600,000 units, could make all the Scout models. Dr. Diess said during the TechCrunch interview that the company would aim at filling one plant with products from the new brand.
Scout electric truck FAQs
What is the Scout electric truck release date?
The Scout electric truck will enter production in 2026 and should arrive at dealers the same year.
What will be the Scout electric truck price?
The Scout electric truck could cost around USD 50,000 onwards.
Featured image (and image shown in the gallery): VW Group