VW scouts out place in pickup market — with a Scout
German giant acquires storied nameplate for EV line of SUVs and trucks.
(A native of England, Matthew Diebel is a veteran journalist who has worked at NBC News, Time, USA Today and News Corp., among other organizations. Having spent his childhood next to one of the world's fastest bodies of water, he is particularly interested in tidal energy.)
For several years, Volkswagen (VWAGY) has vied with Toyota (TM) as the world’s biggest automaker. But while Toyota has now become the best-selling car manufacturer in the U.S., VW only sells about a fifth of the Japanese giant’s numbers in America.
Why? In part because it doesn’t make pickup trucks.
Now that’s about to change, with the German behemoth planning to resurrect the Scout nameplate of sport-utility/pickup vehicles popular in the Sixties and Seventies – as EVs, with Reuters, citing two people with knowledge of the matter, saying VW would invest about $105 million in the new brand, which was produced in the Sixties and Seventies by International Harvester as a much-loved competitor to the Jeep.
It seems like a wise move. With EV startup Rivian (RIVN) grabbing headlines with its R1T truck and Ford (F) finding fast advance sales with the F-150 Lightning — an electric version of its best-selling pickup — VW looked to fall even further behind during to the transition to an all-electric world.
It’s also planning to sell the Scouts — whose naming rights it acquired last year — at a much lower price than its competitors, with VW America CEO Johan de Nysschen telling reporters last year that he’d like to market something similar to the Rivian, but “at a $40,000 price point instead of $70,000.”
The Scout brand will be spun off into its own company with about $100 million in initial investment from VW, reports the Wall Street Journal, with more to follow from outside investors, and could even potentially be listed as its own stock. VW's management board is expected to meet and approve the plan on Wednesday, the paper said.
Look for the EV Scouts to be rolled out in or around 2026.