As big as possible, as wide as possible, as powerful as possible: pickups and SUVs are enjoying a phenomenal boom in the United States. Not only do they dominate the roads in rural regions, urban luxury car buyers are also increasingly opting for the utility vehicles, transforming them into a lifestyle accessory. Domestic brands like Ford or General Motors are especially popular, while German manufacturers are still having a hard time penetrating the core segment of the American automobile market. Volkswagen plans to change all that. The VW Group is gearing up to launch a spectacular comeback of the historic Scout.
Scout? What Scout? Okay, a brief history lesson to begin with: The International Harvester Scout is an off-road vehicle that was produced over 500,000 times between 1961 and 1980 and still enjoys cult status in America today. The Scout is regarded as the first vehicle to transfer the bare-bones genes of the Willys Jeep into a vehicle suitable for everyday use – five years before the Ford Bronco. In a way, the Scout is the granddaddy of the modern pickup truck.
With this heritage behind it, the brand is moving forward into the future. The plan is to produce a pickup and a rugged SUV for the U.S. market – both with an electric powertrain. “Electrification is the key to success,” says Scott Keogh, the former Head of the Volkswagen Brand in North America, who was named CEO of Scout Motors last year. Production is scheduled to start in 2026 at a new assembly plant being built in South Carolina with around $1.3 billion in state subsidies