The electric rebirth of the classic off-road SUV brand Scout got real this week as Volkswagen named Scott Keogh CEO of its new spin-off company. The former head of Volkswagen Group of America pushed for Volkswagen to launch a new line of electric pickups after seeing a fully restored vintage Scout.
VW acquired the Scout brand through the 2020 merger of its commercial truck company Traton with Navistar, which the German automaker initially acquired as part of the brand in 2016. In May, it was reported that VW was willing to pump $1 billion into the new Scout brand and set a goal of selling 250,000 electric crossovers under the brand each year starting in 2026.
With Keogh now leading Scout, VW’s management board in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has handed over all VW responsibilities in North America to Pablo Di Si, VW’s current head of South America. “It’s time to focus more on the U.S. market and U.S. customers, and one piece of the puzzle is definitely Scout,” VW CEO Herbert Diess told Axios in an interview. ” VW CEO Herbert Diess told Axios in an interview. The company reportedly said it will develop true U.S. electric SUVs and pickups as it tries to restore its reputation battered by the Dieselgate emissions scandal.
VW hopes the Scout will be the answer to doubling its 5 percent U.S. electric car market share. The automaker has hit a roadblock after selling all of its electric vehicle offerings – including the ID.4 and Audi E-trons – this year. In its former life, Scout built an off-road SUV to compete with Jeep in the 1960s, and now it’s reborn as a company that can grow separately from VW so it can try to go head-to-head with electric SUVs and choppers.
Whether Scout will design a squared-off retro-looking SUV like the indefinitely delayed Bollinger B1/B2 and Hummer EV or whether it will follow the trend of other midsize and compact SUVs and adopt older nameplates like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the new Chevrolet Blazer remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure: the company is said to be working on vehicles suitable for camping, off-roading or for work – a clear indication that Ford’s F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T electric pickups are its primary targets.