VW to challenge Rivian, Ford with electric Scout SUV, Autos Volkswagen

A 1969 International Harvester Scout 800. — Photo from Barrett-Jackson

HAMBURG/WASHINGTON: Volkswagen plans to re-introduce the Scout off-road brand in the United States offering new electric pick-up and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), two people with knowledge of the matter said today.

The German carmaker would invest around 100 million euros ($106 million) in the new Scout brand, the people said, potentially seeking external funding through investors or an IPO to expand its production capabilities.

Volkswagen’s supervisory board will “decide on the topic” at a meeting later today, a spokesman confirmed, adding an update was planned later the same day.

Volkswagen has moved away from cars in the United States as it adds more electric models.

SUVs now account for about 75% of the US sales of the group’s VW and Audi brands, which represent about 4% of US auto industry sales. US sales of the two brands were down about 30% in the first quarter.

Scout and Travelall vehicles made by International Harvester were forerunners in both function and style of popular SUVs from the Big Three Detroit automakers such as the Ford Bronco and General Motors’ (GM) Chevrolet Suburban.

Harvester stopped building the Scout and Traveall in 1980 after the oil price shocks of the mid-1970s as it went through a restructuring.

But the Scout “look” lives on in vehicles such as Ford’s current Bronco and electric vehicle (EV) startup Rivian‘s R1 pickup and SUV line.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Volkswagen hoped to eventually sell up to 250,000 Scout-branded vehicles annually in the United States and begin production in 2026.

Volkswagen first disclosed it was considering using the Scout name late last year. The automaker’s Traton SE business acquired US truck maker Navistar in 2020, which owns the Scout name.

GM in 2020 said it would resurrect the Hummer name to build electric SUVs and pickup trucks and through March 31 has delivered 100 Hummer EV pickups in the United States.

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