VW aims to launch Scout, a brand of off-road electric vehicles – TechCrunch

Rugged SUV and pickup could be in production in the US by 2026

The VW group is on the precipice of the launch of a new company dedicated to electric vehicles in the United States, called Scout, which will produce an all-electric pickup truck and a rugged off-road SUV for the American consumer.

The company’s supervisory board, chaired by Hans Dieter Pötsch, will vote on the issue on May 11, sources familiar with the company’s plans told TechCrunch. The board should approve the proposal.

The launch of the Scout brand will amplify VW’s presence in the United States, a market where several other automakers, including Ford, GM, Tesla and newcomer Rivian, are already planning or producing electric pickup trucks. VW strategically avoids the increasingly competitive full-size pickup market, which is dominated by the Ford F-150, GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado. Instead, the plan is to build a C-segment truck, which is smaller and comparable to the Ford Maverick.

The new brand, named after the iconic International Harvester Scout that hit the market in the early 1960s, would start producing the two electric vehicles by 2026, according to sources who asked not to be named because they are not allowed to speak publicly about the proposal. .

VW intends to make an initial investment of $100 million in the creation of the new company with further investments to follow, sources say. This initial funding will be used to create the business structure, put in place management and begin recruiting employees. It is possible that some future investments may come from external sources and are not limited to institutional investors, the sources said. This could open the door for private equity or individuals to fund such an effort.

The Scout brand could help VW Group CEO Herbert Diess achieve some ambitious goals. VW aims to become the world’s biggest seller of electric vehicles by 2025 and to double its market share in the United States to 10% by the end of the decade.

VW has other plans to increase its market share in the United States, including bringing a long-wheelbase passenger model of its electric ID Buzz to the North American market in 2024. However, creating an all-new unit signals VW’s desire to tap into a languishing market. for the company for years, until the all-electric ID.4 arrives in 2021.

Speculation that VW could resurrect Scout as an electric off-roader first emerged in fall 2021 after Volkswagen Group of America COO Johan De Nysschen brought up the idea during of a conversation with the media. VW secured the naming rights to Scout after its commercial trucking unit Traton merged in the summer of 2021 with Navistar. International Harvester stopped manufacturing the Scout in 1980 and went out of business five years later.

At the time, the COO envisioned a Rivian-like SUV that would be priced at $40,000 – a significant discount from the current Rivian R1S SUV. A render shared with TechCrunch shows two proposed designs for the SUV and pickup truck that mix the classic old Scout with a few touches of Rivian’s aesthetic.

Rendering of the VW EV scout

Picture credits: Render of VW shared with TechCrunch from an anonymous source

Notably, Scout will have its own underlying platform designed for higher-clearance off-road vehicles, sources say.

It is not known where Scout will be located or where the vehicles will be assembled. It would be unusual for an independent brand to move into VW’s Chattanooga plant, especially since these new vehicles won’t be built from VW’s Modular Electric Powertrain Kit, or MEB.

The MEB is a flexible modular system – effectively a matrix of common parts – that VW Group brands, including Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen, use to improve the efficiency and profitability of electric vehicle production. Around 30% of all VW Group electric vehicles are already MEB-based, including the Volkswagen ID.3, an electric sedan sold only in Europe and the Volkswagen ID.4 SUV and ID.5, as well as various variants of the Audi Q4 e-tron. By 2025, the automaker expects more than 80%.

Scout-branded vehicles will initially be built for the US market. However, the platform could be used by other brands later and around the world, sources said. The smaller C-segment sized truck would be ideal for other markets, including Europe and South America.

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