The ongoing questions about Volkswagen plans to build a pickup truck for the U.S. market were answered today.
The company is reviving and electrifying the Scout brand as an independent company to build an all-electric truck and SUV for the U.S. with the first deliveries expected to arrive in 2026. Officials didn’t say if the new vehicles would be built at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, which is slated to start building the ID.4 later this year, or if it would build a new facility somewhere else.
However, officials did mention in late March it would introduce a new all-electric SUV for 2026. Now that VW filled the SUV gap in its U.S. portfolio and a pickup — or two? — will complete the circle.
“After Volkswagen’s successful turnaround in the U.S., we are now taking the opportunity to further strengthen our position in one of the most significant growth markets for EVs,” said Herbert Diess, CEO Volkswagen AG. “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 U.S. market.”
According to the automaker, the new pickup and R-SUV — rugged SUV as VW describes it — will be designed, engineered and built in the U.S. for American consumers. However, officials didn’t describe what that means or looks like, although a few renderings were released to give some insight as to what’s coming.
To accomplish this, the company is bringing back the Scout brand, which was created by International Harvester. The company, primarily an agricultural machine outfit building tractors and heavy-duty trucks, began building the Scout in 1960.
It became popular quickly, arriving on the scene in time to compete with the Jeep CJ, Ford Bronco and others. However, its run came to an end in 1980 when International Harvester shut it down. However, its resurgence follows the trend of some of its contemporaries, most notably the Ford Bronco, which returned to the market last year.
Volkswagen is borrowing from the playbook of some of its future competitors, like GMC and Rivian, which both offer fully electric pickups and SUVs aimed at consumers with active outdoors lifestyles. No pricing was released, but the Wall Street Journal reported VW expects to sell 250,000 of the vehicles annually once up to full speed.
Volkswagen’s been playing with the idea of building a pickup for the U.S. market in earnest for the past several years. Reportedly one of the reasons for its partnership with Ford was to make it easier to achieve that goal.
VW’s U.S. chief Scott Keogh said just a few weeks ago he saw an opportunity for VW to sell an electric pickup in the U.S. However, many assumed it would just use one or two of the pickups it produces for Europe and other markets and make it fit U.S. likes and requirements.
Getting into the pickup market also means potentially tapping into the big dollars spent on those trucks. Full-size pickups are the top three selling vehicles in the U.S., thus success in the R-SUV & pickup segments is a key lever to increasing profitability in the U.S. — if VW can hit its targeted market share of 10 percent, officials noted.
“The company we will establish this year will be a separate unit and brand within the Volkswagen Group to be managed independently,” said Arno Antlitz, CFO Volkswagen AG. “This aligns with the new Group steering model — small units that act agilely and have access to our tech platforms to leverage synergies.”