Scout: A Legendary Off-Road Brand Revived
The Volkswagen Group of companies is bringing back a legendary American name in off-road vehicles: Scout. Sold under the International Harvester brand in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Scout vehicles were famous for their space and versatility, off-road prowess, and rugged good looks. Two new Scout models, both powered by full-electric drivetrains, will arrive in late 2026: a Scout SUV and Scout compact pickup truck.
Return of the Scout
The original International Harvester Scout was an off-road adventure wagon, produced in Fort Wayne, Indiana from 1961 to 1980. Originally created as a competitor to the Jeep, the Scout was the forerunner of ore sophisticated SUVs, with a comfortable interior, a removable hard top, and the option of a half-cab pickup version.
Flash forward to 2023, and a new 1,600-acre factory is being built in Blythewood, South Carolina. Volkswagen Group is investing over $2 billion in the new facility, which will produce the new Scout off-roaders. At maximum capacity, the new factory should be capable of churning out over 200,000 vehicles a year, and will contribute to Volkswagen Group’s plans to capture 10 percent market share in the U.S. by 2030. The Scout brand, tied so closely to the pioneering American culture, is a key part of these plans – and the new, rugged EVs will be sold exclusively through Scout dealerships across the country.
Scout is being led by Scott Keogh, who is the former CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, along with Hebert Diess, a major player at Volkswagen Group globally. Diess and Keogh want to use the rich history of America’s first off-road SUV in the launch of the new electrified lineup – and see huge opportunity for sales in the U.S.
2027 Scout EV: Design
While the final look of the two models has yet to be revealed, early concept drawings of the SUV and pickup will be immediately recognizable to fans of the original Scout. Familiar design cues include a boxy design, and an angled rear window line that became a distinctive part of the original Scout’s look. Large windows provide great visibility to enjoy the great outdoors, while chunky wheels and tires guarantee capability off-road. We suspect that the new Scout SUV will also be available in two- and four-door versions, much like the Jeep Wrangler and the Ford Bronco.
The Scout’s straight lines, flat hood, low roof, and pumped-up wheel arches are also cribbed from the original. Interestingly, both the new Scout SUV and pickup truck will be built on a rugged body-on-frame chassis – unlike a lot of electric vehicles, which use unibody construction.
Built to look and perform for the growing adventure wagon market, the new Scout models will target drivers who might consider the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover Defender, and the Rivian R1S and R1T. We’d expect a wheelbase of 116 inches – around the same as the Bronco four-door – and a width of about 80 inches. The pickup version may be slightly longer.
Ready for Anything
While we don’t know much yet about the powertrain of the new Scout SUV and pickup, we would expect two electric motors, with one at each axle delivering standard all-wheel drive, as well as a battery pack large enough to provide 300 miles of range (EPA-estimated). High ground clearance with excellent approach and departure angles should be easy, as there’s no engine or exhaust to package in the new platform. Industry insiders predict the new Scout SUV and pickup may have 450 horsepower available in the top trim levels.
Will the new Scout models share anything with other Volkswagen Group products? The company says that the platform is all-new and will be dedicated to Scout, but we’d expect some components like air conditioning and heating units, wiring harnesses, and other behind the scenes technology to be shared. That may include hardware like rear-wheel steering and solar panels that help extend range.
2027 Scout: When Can You Buy One?
Volkswagen Group predicts the new Scout brand will be a big seller in America, with its new SUV and pickup competing in the biggest and most profitable segments of the new-vehicle market. You’ll be able to order one starting in the second half of 2026. There’s no word yet on pricing, but industry insiders think that the base models will start around the $40,000 mark, with the highest trim levels around $60,000. Thanks to their local production, they should be eligible for the $7,500 federal EV incentive.
The new electric Scouts a bold move by the Volkswagen Group, and may be what the company needs to get back its mojo in America. Rugged to look at, innovative, and all-American, the Scout might just place the automaker back in the forefront of electrification – and might just be the electric off-roader we’ve all been waiting for.