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

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Volkswagen is considering reviving SUV pioneer Scout as a brand for off-road electric vehicles, according to The Wall Street JournalThe brand would target the US market, where it would likely compete with popular nameplates such as the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco.

According to the log, VW’s board of directors will approve the plan on Wednesday. Under the plan, Scout will operate as a subsidiary of VW, along with Audi, Skoda, 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 has only a small share of the US market. The plan to bring Scout back as an off-road electric brand is clearly aimed at winning over American car buyers, who are increasingly interested in trucks and SUVs. The plan would be the first time VW has created a separate brand targeting the US.

VW hopes to eventually sell 250,000 Scout-branded vehicles in the U.S. annually, with production commencing in 2026. log reports, citing sources familiar with the schedule.

TechCrunch has a display of what some vehicles might look like. One resembles VW’s Atlas SUV, which seats seven, while the other is a pickup truck along the lines of the VW Amarok.

The Scout was first introduced in 1961 by International Harvester as a small two-door SUV. It was a precursor to the more advanced SUVs to come and was intended to compete with Jeep, with robust details and a folding windshield. The Scout and the second generation Scout II were produced in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as two-door trucks with a detachable hardtop.

Production ceased in 1980 and VW acquired the rights to the brand when it bought Navistar International in 2020. (Navistar was founded in 1985 when International Harvester went bankrupt.)

VW has suggested in the past that it has an interest in making electric off-road vehicles 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 investing heavily in its MEB platform, which will serve as the basis for the 10 million electric cars it wants to sell.

VW is reportedly willing to pump $1 billion into the new Scout brand, which will include building a new manufacturing facility and hiring a slew of US executives. The company could also seek external financing for the project, with the option to list the subsidiary in the public markets once it is operational.

Still, VW will face supply chain constraints, battery material shortages and rising inflation as it tries to get this new EV venture off the ground. The company’s CEO, Herbert Diess, recently said that VW is “basically sold out of electric vehicles in Europe and the United States” for the year. Anyone hoping to get an EV from VW, Audi, or any of the group’s other brands may have to wait until 2023 as the company tries to deal with the chip shortage and production problems caused by COVID shutdowns in China.

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