Update: ‘Design,’ ‘Manufacturing,’ and ‘Scout SUV Release Date’ sections updated.
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 Scout Motors, which will land at dealers in the final months of 2026.
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.
Scout Motors, a newly established company under Volkswagen Group, independent of present American operations, will launch Scout EVs. Scott Keogh became the President and CEO of Scout Motors on September 1, 2022. Before joining Scout Motors, Keogh was the President and CEO and Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) and the CEO of Volkswagen North American Region.
On July 20, 2022, Heiko Perlick and Chong Lee, two of Volkswagen Group’s top executives overseeing strategy and strategic business development, talked about the rebirth of Scout in a video released on its YouTube channel.
Video Source: YouTube/Volkswagen Group
In an interview with TechCrunch (via YouTube), Dr. Herbert Diess, former 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 design work and engineering of the Scout SUV will take place in the U.S. This model will be based on a new dedicated EV platform honed for off-road prowess. Scout Motors will pay special attention to core American SUV attributes like ground clearance, approach angle, axle robustness, and payload capacity while developing this model. Volkswagen Group has said that the new platform would offer “credibility beyond the existing Volkswagen Group portfolio.”
After conducting an interview with Keogh, TechCrunch said in a report on March 3, 2023, that the Scout SUV will sit on a newly developed body-on-frame platform. There will be some component sharing with other Volkswagen Group models, though, such as air-conditioning parts, motors, and inverters.
Meanwhile, a report by CAR Magazine on December 23, 2022, surfaced with a few interesting details regarding the project, citing a company insider.
While we do know that the codename for the Scout SUV is SC416, the British publication didn’t offer the specs of the SUV. As it suggests that the electric SUV will have commonalities with its pickup stablemate, we envision the SUV to borrow the 469 hp twin electric motors and all-wheel drive system from the pickup, for the top-spec variant.
Magna, the company that has developed the Fisker Ocean’s platform and will manufacture the EV at its domestic facility in Graz, Austria, could be involved in the development of the Scout electric SUV. On October 5, 2022, Automobilwoche reported that the Canadian company will develop the Scout electric truck.
The Beetle and ID. Buzz were reinterpreted with what made those cars so popular, and based upon that, we’re confident that designers of the VW Group company will bring back many of the old touches. The highlighted rectangle in the picture above is the teaser of the Scout electric SUV and Scout electric pickup. The teaser is tiny, but it reveals quite a lot of details.
The Scout electric SUV appears to have a neo-retro exterior. It features straight lines, smooth door panels, large, rectangular windows, a flat hood and roof, and flared wheel arches.
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.
Looks pretty mean!
The Scout electric SUV appears to have a confident stance. Its high-set hood has indents that convey strength and give it a burly appearance. In addition to providing excellent rear visibility, the large, rectangular mirrors match the model’s boxy shape. Tall and wide tires should deliver plenty of ground clearance and grip on and off the road. Big glass panels all around should give great visibility of the surroundings and let in plenty of natural light.
We’re confident that the Scout SUV will be a fine mix of classic and futuristic elements, now that Chris Benjamin has taken over as the company’s Chief Design Officer. Benjamin began his career as part of the design team at Mercedes-Benz. He later worked at BMW and Volvo as well, and most recently, he led interior design at Stellantis North America, including Jeep, Wagoneer, Dodge, Ram, and Chrysler.
Inputs from Scout Harvester owners
Scout Motors is likely sharing plans and taking feedback from current International Harvester Scout customers for its comeback. On October 3, 2022, Jeff Blade, a member of the Facebook group Friends of the Binder Planet, said he was among a small group of people who talked with officials of the newly established company and exchanged their opinions and expectations about the Scout electric models. The company presented a video of the future plans, and it was better than any Super Bowl commercial to date, so good that it gave him goosebumps!
According to Blade, Scout Motors’ electric vehicles will have hints of the classic models and allow customization after purchase. They won’t be based on a skateboard platform of the Volkswagen brand (MEB). The pickup will be a true American truck and possess high off-road capabilities.
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 in range.
According to the TechCrunch report dated March 3, 2023, the Scout SUV’s software will come from CARIAD. The architecture is in place, but while that will be shared with other Volkswagen Group products, the user experience will be significantly different. The Scout SUV won’t be over-digitalized like the Tesla Cybertruck, though, as Keoght said the company wants this model to have “a lot of the mechanical nature” of a traditional SUV. He suggested this model will have physical controls for adjusting the cabin temperature and other core functions.
Production of the Scout SUV will take place at a dedicated Scout Motors factory in Blythewood (South Carolina), USA. The first unit may roll off the assembly line as early as late 2026. Built with an investment of USD 2 billion, the new EV factory will have an annual production capacity of over 200,000 units. Volkswagen Group may task its future U.S. plant with the production of Audi EVs as well.
Scout Motors has hired Dr. Jan Spies, the Head of Planning and Production Technology for Volkswagen AG, as its Chief Production Officer. The veteran automotive production expert will join the new company in early 2024 and oversee the establishment of the Blythewood factory.
Scout SUV Release Date
The Scout SUV will start arriving at U.S. dealers towards the end of 2026. As per the TechCrunch report, the SUV will be unveiled in early 2024, though we believe that the report is referring to the concept version. The SUV could be a desirable alternative to lower variants of the GMC Electric Hummer SUV and the Rivian R1S in the U.S. market. Volkswagen Group could have a small volume earmarked for exports, but the focus would be America, where the company is far behind competitors and wants to improve its market share.
With the iconic Scout brand, by 2026, we will now also have an offering in the most attractive profit pools – the SUV and C-pickup segment.Arno Antlitz, CFO and COO, Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen Group Capital Markets Day 2023 on June 21, 2023)
Once production normalizes, the Scout SUV could be sold in UK, Australia and New Zealand as well. Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume has said that the company the final worldwide marketing planning of the Scount electric SUV will be done when it further advances with engineering, Drive reported on September 5, 2023. Thus, while it hasn’t decided to make a right-hand driver version, it hasn’t ruled out the possibility yet.
The prices of the Scout SUV will start at around USD 40,000, as per the TechCrunch report dated March 3, 2023. That sounds very competitive, but high-end configurations with more kit and off-road capability should set customers back by USD 55,000-60,000.
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.
Several dealer associations reached out to 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 isn’t 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’s Audi offshoot
Audi could leverage Volkswagen Group’s upcoming rugged truck platform to generate a vehicle. Automotive News asked Oliver Hoffmann whether Audi could develop a model based on the same platform as the Scout SUV and Scout pickup, to which he said that it is considering that possibility. Hoffmann is Audi’s BoM member responsible for Technical Development.
This isn’t the first time the German luxury automaker has shown interest in an electric off-roader. At the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA 2019), the Audi AI-TRAIL quattro, the fourth member of the Audi:AI series of concept EVs, signaled that Ingolstadt is exploring the idea of an EV for adventure mobility off the beaten track.
Volkswagen Group’s Scout electric SUV is shaping up to be a truly unique and innovative model, and unlike any other from the brand’s history. Our expectation is that it should look, perform, and offer vast customization capabilities similar to a Wrangler or Bronco. It is probably aimed at buyers who prefer something more luxurious than the Atlas, one that is fun and off-road-ready, and has none of that maintenance, fumes, or noise of a gas engine!
Scout SUV FAQs
What is the Scout SUV release date?
The Scout SUV will enter production in 2026 as the first Scout model. It is expected to reach dealers in late 2026.
What will be the Scout SUV price?
We expect the base Scout SUV to cost around USD 40,000.
Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s rendering of the Scout SUV