The Volkswagen Group’s new Scout electric vehicle brand has confirmed it will build its upcoming pickup trucks and SUVs at a plant near Columbia, South Carolina from late 2026.
This follows reports from last year saying the company was in talks with Foxconn, as well as Magna-Steyr about contract manufacturing.
Scout Motors has secured a site measuring approximately 1600 acres (6.47 square kilometres), with the plant itself set to occupy 1100 acres (4.45 square kilometres). It’s located around 30km from Columbia, South Carolina.
The company is investing US$2 billion (A$2.96 billion) in getting this production facility set up, with groundbreaking planned for mid-2023.
At full capacity, Scout projects the South Carolina production facility will be able manufacture more than 200,000 vehicles annually. It also has the potential to create more than 4000 permanent jobs.
“Scout Motors will provide thousands of South Carolinians with previously un-imagined opportunities and prosperity for generations to come,” said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.
“The Palmetto State, with its rich history, superior people, and sterling automotive manufacturing reputation, is the perfect place to re-start this iconic American brand.”
The Volkswagen Group’s decision to manufacture Scout vehicles in the US appears related to President Joe Biden’s recently signed tax, climate, and healthcare law stipulating EVs and part of their battery components must be built in the country to qualify for subsidies.
Electric vans, SUVs and pickup trucks valued up to US$80,000 (A$118,533) and other EVs valued up to US$55,000 (A$81,491) that are manufactured in the US now qualify for federal tax credits of up to US$7500 (A$11,112).
As part of this announcement Scout Motors also published a shadowy teaser image of the two upcoming electric vehicles (EVs) with the caption, “the world needs Scouts”.
The Scout electric pickup and SUV will be built on a “newly-designed all-electric platform” that’s claimed to offer credible off-road prowess.
Internal engineering is claimed to be focused on attributes including ground clearance, approach angles, robust axles, payload capacity, electric range, and “new digital features”.
Although right-hand drive production hasn’t been confirmed, Volkswagen Australia has put up its hand for the rugged electric ute and SUV range.
“Scout’s American-focused, it’s left-hand drive at this point only. If they determine that they want to build a right-hand drive variant, I guarantee that I’ll be on a plane straight over there to spruik the case for Australia,” Ryan Davies, director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Australia, told CarExpert in December 2022.
“That’s a pretty exciting product. I think there’s plenty of scope [for Scout].
“I’ve no other insight or information on [Scout models] but from what we can see, they would have good application here in Australia and should they decide to go to right-hand drive, I think Volkswagen Group Australia would be incredibly interested.”
Volkswagen came into possession of the Scout name in 2021 when its Traton truck division bought Navistar, the parent company of International Harvester, the company which built the Jeep-style Scout utes and SUVs from 1961 to 1980.
Produced in the US state of Indiana, it was available with a range of hard- and soft-top body styles, and featured a pickup option.