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Volkswagen will reportedly revive Scout as an off-road EV brand for America

Volkswagen will reportedly revive Scout as an off-road EV brand for America

According to the Wall Street Journal, Volkswagen is considering reviving SUV pioneer Scout as an off-road electric vehicle brand. The brand will be focused on the US market, where it will likely compete with popular nameplates such as the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco.

According to the Journal, VW's board of directors is set to approve the plan on Wednesday. The plan envisions the Scout to be operated as a subsidiary of VW, as do Audi, Coda, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley. (A VW spokesperson declined to comment, noting that the report refers to actions taken by Volkswagen Group's supervisory board.)

VW is one of the largest automakers in the world, but only holds a small share of the US market. The plan to bring Scout back as an electric off-roading brand is clearly aimed at winning over American car buyers, who are increasingly interested in trucks and SUVs. The plan will mark the first time VW has created a separate brand focused on the US.

VW expects to sell 250,000 Scout-branded vehicles annually in the US, with production beginning in 2026, the Journal reports, citing sources familiar with the plan.

TechCrunch has a rendering of what some vehicles might look like. One appears to be similar to VW's Atlas SUV, which can seat seven, while the other is a pickup truck in the vein of VW Amarok.

The Scout was first introduced in 1961 by International Harvester as a small, two-door SUV. A precursor to the more sophisticated SUV to come, it was intended to compete with the Jeep, featuring rugged details and a fold-down windshield. The Scout and the second generation Scout II were produced in Fort Wayne, Indiana as two-door trucks with a removable hardtop.

Production ceased in 1980, and VW acquired the rights to the brand when it bought Navistar International in 2020.

VW has indicated its interest in building electric off-road vehicles in the past, with concepts such as the ID Buggy, an electric dune buggy. For VW, the buggy is meant to show off the versatility of its MEB, or "Modulare E-Antriebs-Baukasten", which is German for "Modular Electric Drive Matrix". The company is betting big on its MEB platform, which will serve as the base for 10 million electric cars sold.

VW is reportedly willing to pump $1 billion into the new Scout brand, which could include building a new manufacturing facility, and hiring an entire crew of US-based executives. The company may seek external funding for the project with the possibility that once the subsidiary is listed on the public markets, it is up and running.

Still, VW will have to grapple with supply chain constraints, battery material shortages and rising inflation as it attempts to get this new EV venture off the ground. The company's CEO Herbert Diess recently said that VW "sold on electric vehicles natively in Europe and the United States" for the year. Anyone hoping to get an EV from VW, Audi, or any other brand in the group may have to wait until 2023 as the company tries to navigate chip shortages and production issues from the COVID shutdown in China .

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