VW's electric Scout redux puts Bronco and Wrangler in its sights
Iconic 4x4s are rising from the dead at an alarming rate — the Bronco, the Hummer, the Wagoneer, and now the International Harvester Scout. Or just "Scout" as it will henceforth be known. Volkswagen owns the rights to the Scout name and is about to exercise them by launching a standalone US-based Scout brand to reinvent utility vehicles from yesteryear as cutting-edge electrics.
Volkswagen's claim on Scout traces back to 2020, when Group commercial truck brand Traton SE reached an agreement to acquire Navistar International Corporation, with which it had been partnering for several years. Navistar officially became a Traton brand in mid-2021, and with it came the Scout name. On Wednesday, Volkswagen Group's Supervisory Board confirmed plans to bring the brand back to the United States market.
Volkswagen hopes to lean on the historical strength of Scout as an off-road brand to gain footing in the US pickup and "R-SUV" (that's Rugged Sport Utility Vehicle, and hopefully it doesn't stick) markets in which it does not currently compete. It believes success in these segments will be a key to increasing profitability in the US and gaining a targeted 10 percent market share.
"Electrification provides a historic opportunity to enter the highly attractive pickup and R-SUV segment as a Group, underscoring our ambition to become a relevant player in the US market," said Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess.
With more motivation than the average automaker at its back, Volkswagen has been steadily growing its all-electric vehicle footprint, so it only makes sense that its newest brand becomes an all-electric brand. Volkswagen says the Scout models will be based on a new technical platform concept, and Scout will design, engineer and build its models in the US. The first prototypes should be revealed next year, well ahead of a planned 2026 production start.
And suddenly it's an exciting time to be an adventurous Volkswagen fan. An electrified Scout 4x4 and pickup truck could serve as convincing all-electric overlanding siblings to the road trip-ready ID. Buzz already coming to the US market. Hopefully the Buzz van will eventually be joined by the grand return of the California camper to the land that lent its name. Volkswagen has confirmed plans for an ID. California but has not yet outlined plans to bring it stateside.