VW Group’s Scout SUV for America: Everything we know [Update]

Update: ‘Why Scout’ section updated with used car market value.

As part of its heightened efforts to reach its targeted market share of 10% in the U.S. by 2030, Volkswagen Group has announced a new truck brand called Scout. The company has already given two models the green signal for launch, one of which is a Scout SUV.

Here are the preliminary details on the exciting future launch from the VW Group.

Why Scout?

As demand for large, rugged SUVs (R-SUVs) continues to grow in the United States, Volkswagen Group sees electric models as feasible in this segment. With the company’s recent embrace of electric powertrains, the company is well-positioned to enter this growing segment. It will establish a separate unit and brand with independent management.

In an interview with TechCrunch (via YouTube), Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen Group, explained why the company decided on a new brand for its truck models, and why the Scout name. After acquiring Navistar in 2021, Dr. Diess said that the company had the idea to use the rich history of America’s first off-road SUV, the International Harvester Scout. Relaunching an American brand, in the words of Dr. Diess, “is a huge opportunity.”

The company we will establish this year will be a separate unit and brand within the Volkswagen Group to be managed independently. This aligns with the new Group steering model – small units that act agilely and have access to our tech platforms to leverage synergies.

VW Group announcement (via Volkswagen Newsroom) of the Scout brand on May 11, 2022

The emergence of the all-electric Scout SUV could lead to a spike in prices for classic Scout SUVs in the used car market. A significant rise in interest among collectors is possible when the 21st century, all-electric Scout SUV goes on sale, suggests a report from Hagerty. We’ve seen prices jump before when a nameplate is resurrected. For example, when Ford launched the all-new Bronco in 2021, prices of the retro model went up 45%. The original Scout’s current value in the used car market is approximately USD 30,790, while the Scout II’s current average #2 condition value is USD 40,866.

Development

The design and engineering of the Scout SUV will take place in the United States. Volkswagen Group hasn’t said which platform will underpin this model, only revealing it will be “a new technical platform concept” that offers “credibility beyond the existing Volkswagen Group portfolio.” However, given its release date, which we will get to later in this story, the upcoming SSP mechatronics platform is a possible choice. If that’s not the case, the different platform used for the Scout models would eventually become a part of SSP.

Design

The Beetle and ID. Buzz were reinterpreted with what made those cars so popular, and we’re confident that even Scout models will bring back many of its old touches.

The Scout SUV will look like a proper American utility vehicle. Tall, boxy, and masculine, it will have extremely short overhangs that work in the favor of approach and departure angles, an upright front-end, straight lines and smooth surfaces, a sleek and angular greenhouse, chunky wheels wrapped in off-road tires, and vertical tail lamps. Our rendering of the Scout electric SUV is a throwback to the 1970’s model (inspired by the color charts courtesy of oldinternationaltrucks.com), while maintaining the proportions and hard points revealed by the official teasers. Additionally, production vehicle elements like sensors, antenna, mirror, charging port, door handles, and indicator lights are blended in the recipe.

Features

While speaking to TechCrunch, Dr. Diess discussed several features that the Scout EVs could have. He suggested that vehicle-to-load (V2L), rear-wheel steering, and solar charging would be among the key features of these electric truck models. Since the Scout SUV would have a large, flattish roof, the solar panels could offer tangible benefits.

Scout SUV Production and Release Date

Production of the Scout SUV will take place in the USA from 2026, Volkswagen Group has confirmed. Dr. Diess told TechCrunch that it needs to see whether a greenfield facility would be required, consider the potential sales volume, and decide many other things before zeroing in on the production site. The company would aim at filling up one plant with Scout models, the CEO said.

Volkswagen Group is considering a second factory, right next to the current plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as per a report from Germany’s Manager Magazin. The new factory would expand its annual production capacity in America to 600,000 units. The Scout SUV and its pickup counterpart could roll out of the new plant.

The Scout SUV is still five years away, but a concept version will preview its design and features in 2023. It should compete with lower variants of the GMC Electric Hummer SUV and the Rivian R1S in the U.S. market. The VW Group could have a small volume earmarked for exports, but the focus would be on improving its share in America where the brand is far behind the market leaders.

Retail

According to a report from Automotive News, Volkswagen Group’s decision to launch the Scout brand without involving U.S. Volkswagen dealers has not been well-received by them. The fact that the new brand will be used to launch truck models while ignoring dealers’ longstanding requests for a pickup model, has made the announcement even more disappointing.

In an interview with Automotive News, Dr. Diess said that Volkswagen Group of America won’t operate the Scout brand. As expected, Volkswagen Group will establish a new company in the U.S. for the brand.

Several dealer associations have reached out to Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Scott Keogh, while some are about to, demanding more details about how Volkswagen Group plans to market Scout models. Even if the company doesn’t allow selling them through existing Volkswagen Group of America dealerships (of any brand), current dealers would want to get the first opportunity to launch a Scout showroom.

Trying to calm furious dealers, Keogh hinted that there could be simpler, less expensive, Volkswagen offshoots of Scout models, saying the “rugged” electric platform that will underpin them “could definitely provide an opportunity for non-Scout vehicles.” A firm plan for a VW truck launch in America doesn’t exist as of yet, though.

Previously, Dr. Diess told TechCrunch that Volkswagen Group is yet to decide whether it will sell Scout models at Volkswagen dealerships or dedicated Scout dealerships. However, now it seems very unlikely that the company will offer Scout EVs at Volkswagen showrooms, as the brand won’t be a part of Volkswagen Group of America. He had also said that the new brand could contribute around 2% to its targeted 10% market share by the end of the decade.

Scout SUV FAQs

What is the Scout SUV release date?

The Scout SUV will enter production in 2026, and it may go on sale in fall 2026.

What will be the Scout SUV price?

The base Scout SUV could cost around USD 50,000.

Which models will be the Scout SUV rivals?

The Scout SUV may compete with the Rivian R1S and basic versions of the GMC Hummer EV SUV.

Featured image (and image shown in the gallery): VW Group