Scout Motors Update (February 2024)

Scout Motors Update (February 2024)

Almost two years ago we learned that Volkswagen was launching Scout Motors, a new company that will feature rugged electric SUVs and pickups.  Since then, they have been teasing the design language and potential timing of the return of an iconic brand.  Beyond those early teases, not much has been shared.

Until now.

Related articlesThe Return of Scout; New Scout: True To Its Heritage?

Last week, Scout Motors celebrated the groundbreaking of their new $2.5 billion assembly plant in Blythewood, South Carolina.  This plant will sit on 1,100 acres and employ around 4,000 workers.  Considering that Scout plans to build 200,000 vehicles at this plant annually, this will be a big deal for the local residents and supporting businesses.

Scout Fan Pilgrimage

As part of the ground breaking ceremony, Scout enthusiasts staged a rally that traveled from Ft. Wayne, Indiana (the site of the last Scout assembly plant) to the new plant location in Blythewood, SC.

This group of five classic Scouts, ranging from bone stock trucks to full restomods, made the 800 mile pilgrimage over three days.  They hit historical Scout sites, some country back roads and even visited classic Scout parts provider Super Scout Specialists (Enon, OH).

One of the fans in the rally carried a brick from the original Ft. Wayne plant to the new plant location.  That’s cool.  I love the symbolism of this act and how a piece of Scout history will live on at the new plant.

Scout CEO sitting on a vintage Scout truck

Design Direction

All of this attention around the fandom and assembly plant will mean nothing if the new vehicle comes up short.  Fans of the original International Scout are looking for a way to relive the memory of their beloved Scout.  New customers will seek a uniquely styled and functional (rugged) vehicle.  Can Scout hit that sweet spot?

The new Chief Design Officer, Chris Benjamin, seems ready for the task.  He spent the last ten years crafting the interior designs of various Stellantis vehicles (with a focus on Jeep), and six years working on exterior design for Volvo.  He makes it very clear that he will not be penning a retro design for Scout.  He states it will be “iconic, not retro.”

Many of the teaser pictures used by Scout show the original Scout SUV.  I suspect the final design will have more retro cues than Chris is letting on. We shall find out when the final design is unveiled this summer.

Electric Only?

When Scout Motors was announced in 2022, company CEO Scott Keough declared it would be an all-electric, rugged SUV and pickup. That seems to be supported by Ryan Decker, Scout Strategy Director.  In a recent interview by TFL Car, Ryan states there are three key reasons for an all-electric vehicle:

  • Overall growth in the EV market.  He is bullish on the idea that shoppers are highly considering an EV as their next new car.
  • Competitors in the EV space who are 100% EV (Tesla, Rivian, etc.) are showing great success, with sales year-over-year up 50%.  Traditional OEMs with a mix of gas-powered and EVs on the lot are not so successful.
  • The regulatory landscape seems to favor electric vehicles, with 40% of the market following California’s full EV mandate.

Other than electric range, the big challenge with EVs today is the charging infrastructure.  The new Scouts are slated to begin production in late 2026.  It’s possible that the U.S. charging infrastructure will be in much better shape by then.  For Scout’s sake, I hope that is true.

Final Thoughts & Questions

When I first heard about Volkwagen’s purchase of Navistar, and the creation of Scout Motors from that purchase, I was pretty enthused.  Scout was one of the competitors of the original Chevrolet Blazer, one of my favorite vehicles.  The Scout vision is what I hoped GM would apply for the current Blazer.  Obviously, that didn’t happen.  For that, I hope Scout has great success.

Let me know if you have any thoughts, questions or a cool story to share.  You can reach me in any of the following ways:

Email: wct.billtaylor@gmail.com

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1 Comment

  1. Michael Gottschalk

    Not sure about the all Electric, I’m just upset I didn’t buy the Scout name!!

    Reply

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