VW Rumored to Revive Scout Nameplate

vw rumored to revive scout nameplate

Volkswagen Group is reportedly considering reviving the Scout name for North America. Following the merger of trucking subsidiary Traton and Navistar in 2020, VW found itself in possession of the farm-focused International Harvester. While the brand technically hasn’t existed since 1985, the German company effectively owns its intellectual property — including the Scout name — and is keen to leverage some of its nostalgia for an alleged sub-brand specializing in sport utility vehicles.

According to reports from TechCrunch and The Wall Street Journal, Volkswagen has yet to make any final decisions. But the plan under review involves using the Scout title to underpin a lineup of electrified SUVs.

It makes sense. The formula has served Jeep exceptionally well and the brand now boasts the kind of international recognition other nameplates can only envy. SUV popularity has been swelling across the board since 2010. But extra-rugged utility vehicles (or crossovers that look like them) have grown even more desirable as the the state of world becomes less certain and road maintenance schedules appear to have been all but abandoned in some regions. We may not end up occupying the Mad Max universe. However, there are plenty of people hedging their bets as finances tighten and spending their hard-earned cash on vehicles they believe are rugged enough to get them through tougher times.

But we’ve yet to see whether all-electric pickups and utility vehicles will get the kind of love from the public required to make VW’s scheme effective. Jeep owners are fanatical (especially if they’re the kind of owner that actually abuses their ride off-road) and the enthusiasm is nearly as staunch for the Toyota 4Runner, Suzuki Jiminy, Land Rover Defender, and any number of similarly iconic pickups sold with extra-groovy tires. These will be exceptionally difficult models to fundamentally change via electrified powertrains and the entire industry is attempting to figure out how best to manage that.

By leveraging International Harvester’s Scout, VW knows it’s getting some cultural cachet thanks to the brand having a historic position in the modernization of the sport utility vehicle and pickup truck. That might contribute toward encouraging the public that the resulting Scout products have something behind them, regardless of what’s beneath the sheet metal. It’s the same reason Ford kept the Lightning’s design so close to the gas-powered F-150 and GMC’s chosen EV carries the Hummer name.

Volkswagen’s plan involves selling an electric SUV and pickup using the same platform, similar to how Rivian does its R1T and R1S. The automaker’s board of directors is expected to approve the new brand this week.

From WSJ:

VW has previously tried to break out of its niche to become a more significant brand in the U.S. Although it is the world’s second-largest auto maker by sales behind Toyota Motor Corp. , it commands a market share of less than 5 [percent] in the U.S.

Despite this modest footprint, VW’s electric vehicles are selling faster than its conventional cars in the U.S. VW said it has around 8 [percent] of the U.S. EV market, second behind Tesla Inc.

“So, the focus will clearly be on electric cars, which we see as a historic chance to gain market share in the United States,” VW CEO Herbert Diess told reporters on a recent earnings call.

If the plan comes together, it’s assumed that production facilities would be based in North America — likely near its current manufacturing hub in Chattanooga, TN. Initial investments are slated to be in excess of $1 billion just to get the ball rolling. From there, it’s assumed that the German automaker will seek additional financing from outside investors and may even put Scout on the stock exchange.

There’s no real information about the vehicles themselves, however. Rumors have suggested Scout would avoid building anything smaller than the Volkswagen Atlas and that VW and that there may actually be a size difference between the pickup and SUV. While it seems a little early to assume anything, we’d look to Rivian for guidance because that seems to be the brand that’s being targeted here.

[Images: Simone Hogan/Shutterstock]

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  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on May 12, 2022

    "including the Scout name — and is keen to leverage some of its nostalgia for an alleged sub-brand specializing in sport utility vehicles." Yup. Volkswagen Scout conjures all sorts of nostalgic memories. Pass the fatty they've been smoking.

  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on May 18, 2022

    Hmmmm.....maybe an Audi Scout ?

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?