Remember the VW Scout?
Fans of cool American off-road vehicles will remember fondly the legendary Scout, which was made by International Harvester from 1961 to 1980. Built off a truck chassis, the Scout was kind of a precursor to the more sophisticated SUVs that would come in the eighties and nineties – in a lot of ways, it was way ahead of its time. It was a competitor to the Jeep but much more livable and comfortable to use on a daily basis. Available with both hard and soft tops, and also as a pickup truck, it was a rugged SUV before the term SUV had been invented.
Now, VW is bringing the spunky little off-roader back in an all-electric package.
Volkswagen is Bringing Back the Scout
International Harvester doesn’t sell personal-use vehicles anymore; it now operates under the Navistar brand and makes heavy trucks and commercial vehicles. But Volkswagen Group has bought the rights to the Scout name in 2020 and will revive it with an all-electric pickup truck and SUV. And unlike the vast majority of EVs, these will be rugged, off-road focused vehicles with a distinctly American flavor.
Volkswagen says the vehicles will be designed, engineered, and manufactured in the U.S. for American customers. To this end, a separate, independent company will be established in the U.S. – a remarkable step for the German group. It’s recognition, maybe, that it’s easier to enter the electric vehicle market with a new brand than an established brand that made its name with gasoline powered vehicles.
The electrified Scout brand will be built on a brand-new EV platform which doesn’t yet exist within Volkswagen group’s portfolio. With a distinct mission to be rugged and off-road focused, it will likely provide the basis for other off-road vehicles from other brands.
The off-road SUV and pickup segments are key markets in the U.S., where outside of cities, drivers really use their vehicles for work, family duties, and play. Volkswagen group thinks that by offering mainstream Americans a new, rugged EV with enough space for it all, will help it continue to grow in one of the biggest and most competitive markets in the world.
Production Starts in 2026
The Scout brand will be run as an independent entity, separate from Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and the other VW group brands operating in the U.S., which should help it act quickly and with agility to stay competitive with the likes of the Tesla Cybertruck, Rivian R1T and R1S, and the upcoming Lucid gravity.
The first prototype Scouts are to be unveiled next year, and production is scheduled to start in 2026. The company has released an initial design sketch showing two body styles – a long-boxed pickup truck as well as a big SUV. Thanks to their EV platforms and compact drivetrains, expect them to both have surprisingly spacious interiors and a handy front trunk under the “hood.” Technical details will be announced at a later date. The original Scout models have increased 43% in value since 2020 and interest in the new Scout from Volkswagen is soaring. VW is looking to sell 250,000 new Scout models per year in America. Can an all-electric Ford Bronco be far behind?
Browse, favorite and compare new, used and upcoming vehicles with our GreenCars Buyer's Guide.