Volkswagen is going all-in on the rugged Scout off-roader brand for the North American market, but right-hand drive production is still up in the air.
Speaking to media at the IAA Munich 2023, Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume said planning for the new brand is currently underway, along with construction of a mega facility in South Carolina.
“Scout is an icon in North America. It’s one of the most successful pickup brands in the past and therefore, we have stunning ideas, how to design the cars, also in terms of technology, and we haven’t done the final world wide market planning,” he said.
“First of all we are focusing on North America and then thinking step by step and we will see what what the future brings.”
When asked specifically whether Scout is going to be limited to just North America, Blume wouldn’t rule out the opportunity to build Scout for right-hand drive markets.
“Honestly, we haven’t decided yet. Currently, we are focusing on the technology profile of the product on design and then when we are further advanced with engineering premises, then we will think what worldwide footprint [such as right-hand drive] we will offer with Scout,” he said.
The company has committed over US$2 billion (A$3.09bn) to manufacturing the all-new, all-electric ute and SUV in South Carolina.
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, and groundbreaking is planned for mid-2023.
At full capacity, Scout projects the South Carolina production facility will be able to manufacture more than 200,000 vehicles annually. It also has the potential to create more than 4000 permanent jobs.
Is Australia keen for Scout? Most definitely. When we spoke with Volkswagen Australia’s commercial vehicles boss, he indicated that the Australian division would be first in line for a right-hand drive version.
“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,” said Ryan Davies, director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Australia.
“That’s a pretty exciting product. I think there’s plenty of scope [for Scout].
Would you like to see a right-hand drive version of Volkswagen’s fully electric ute and SUV?