The VW group is on a cliff related to the launch in the United States of a new dedicated electric vehicle company called Scout, which will produce an all-electric pickup truck and rugged SUV aimed at the American consumer.
The company’s supervisory board, chaired by Hans Dieter Pötsch, will vote on the matter on May 11, sources familiar with the company’s plans told TechCrunch.
If approved, the measure would strengthen VW’s presence in the US, a market where several other automakers, including Ford, GM, Tesla and newcomer Rivian, are either planning or already building electric pickups.
The new brand, named after the iconic International Harvester Scout that hit the market in the early 1960s, will begin production of two electric vehicles by 2026, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the proposal. .
According to sources, VW intends to invest $100 million in the development of the new company, and then additional investments will follow. According to the sources, future investments may come from external sources and not be limited to institutional investors. This may open the door for private capital or individuals to fund such efforts.
The Scout brand can help VW Group CEO Herbert Diess achieve several ambitious goals. VW aims to become the world’s largest seller of electric vehicles by 2025 and double its market share in the US to 10% by the end of the decade.
VW has other plans to increase its market share in the US, including the release of a long-wheelbase passenger model of its electric ID Buzz. North American market in 2024. However, the creation of an all-new unit signals VW’s desire to enter a market that has languished for the company for years before the introduction of the all-electric ID. 4 arrived in 2021.
Speculation that VW might resurrect the Scout first as an EV SUV appeared in autumn 2021 after Volkswagen Group of America COO Johan De Nisschen floated the idea during a media call. VW acquired the rights to the Scout name after its Traton commercial trucking division merged with Navistar in the summer of 2021.
At the time, the COO assumed that the Rivian-like SUV would cost $40,000 — a big discount from the actual Rivian R1S SUV. A rendering provided by TechCrunch shows two proposed SUV and pickup designs that combine the old classic Scout with some elements of the Rivian aesthetic.
It is noteworthy that, according to sources, the Scout will have its own base platform designed for SUVs with high ground clearance.
It is not yet clear where the Scout will be located and where the cars will be assembled. It would be unusual for an independent brand to open a store at VW’s Chattanooga plant, especially given that these new vehicles will not be built on VW’s modular electric drive or MEB platform.
MEB is a flexible, modular system – really a matrix of common parts – that VW Group brands including Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen are using to make electric vehicle production more efficient and cost-effective. About 30% of all VW Group electric vehicles are already based on MEB, including the Volkswagen ID.3, an electric hatchback sold only in Europe, and 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%.
The Scout-badged vehicles will initially be built for the US market, the sources said, but the platform could be used by other brands later and around the world.
Credit: techcrunch.com /