Volkswagen is looking for a contractor to build Scout electric cars in the US

Volkswagen, the world’s second-largest automaker, is not as well represented in the US market as it would ideally like to be, even though Volkswagen is the parent company of the Electrify America charging network and the author of a pun on renaming itself “Voltswagen.”  The revival of the Scout brand will attempt to correct the situation in the foreseeable future. The brand will concentrate on producing electric crossovers and pickups to cater to the requirements of residents of the United States; however, even in this regard, everything is more complicated.

A weekly publication Automobilwoche reports, citing its sources within the Volkswagen car company, that the auto giant is currently in talks with Foxconn and Magna Steyr regarding the feasibility of contract manufacture of Scout electric vehicles. Foxconn already owns a factory in Ohio purchased from Lordstown Motors.

At the same time, Canadian-Austrian Magna Steyr aims to construct a facility in the United States that would specialise in the contract production of electric vehicles. Indicatively, rumours indicate Volkswagen’s desire to collaborate with Magna Steyr on developing the first Scout vehicles. Volkswagen has not commented on any of the rumours regarding negotiations with contractors.

It is not difficult to see why one of the world’s most prominent automobile manufacturers decided to work with a contractor.

Rising energy prices in Europe and outsourcing spare parts

Under the existing circumstances, it would be prohibitively costly to expand the manufacturing of electric vehicles in the facilities already present in Europe. Earlier, the CEO of Volkswagen remarked that the company, along with the entirety of Europe, is rapidly losing its competitiveness due to the high energy cost. According to Electrek, the new CEO of Volkswagen, Thomas Schaefer, is concerned about the declining competitiveness of European products on the global market due to a steep rise in the price of energy in the region.

Schaefer’s concern is based on the fact that European energy prices have risen dramatically in recent years. The problem was made even worse because Europe lacked a local production facility for many components, which finally had to be brought in from other countries.

Artist impression of Scout Car and Pickup design. Scout Motors Pic

According to the CEO of Volkswagen, Europe is gradually losing its appeal in the global market.

It is being overtaken in terms of economic development by the United States, Canada, China, Southeast Asia and North Africa. In the current environment, alternative energy investments only make sense if they cut regional energy prices. According to the head of the company, overseas employees would benefit from government incentives in the shift to electric vehicles, although in Europe, there are currently no such centralised measures. According to Schaefer, the investment projects launched in Europe should be long-term strategic.

Other factors

Second, their future shipment to the United States would incur additional expenses.

Thirdly, the US market requires its platform- and architecture-level solutions, and with initial low production quantities, it would be more efficient to outsource their development. The existing Volkswagen plant in Tennessee will construct ID Buzz electric minivans beginning in 2024, leaving no room for Scout variants on its assembly line. 

Scout EV Brand

Volkswagen said in May that they were reviving the International Harvester Scout’s Scout moniker for a new American electric vehicle brand. Scout Motors’ initial lineup will consist of a pickup truck and a rugged SUV.

The Scout project has attained formal recognition at this point. Scout Motors has introduced its official website, which includes a page for employment opportunities, a page for the media, and an official online community for people who are passionate about the Scout brand. The company maintains an official presence across many social media platforms.

The Volkswagen truck division, known as Traton, has merged with the Navistar truck division.

The current manufacturer of Scout vehicles is International Harvester, which is also the owner of the Scout trademark. Navistar is the corporate successor of International Harvester. The Volkswagen Group is going to have Scout operate as a subsidiary.

VW asserts that all aspects of the Scout vehicle, including design, engineering, manufacturing, and sales, will take place in the United States. With the ID. Buggy concept, VW did release a concept off-roader based on the MEB chassis.

However, it does not appear like the Scout pickup and SUV will receive a redesign of the concept.

A vintage Scout enthusiast named Jeff Bade, who had early access to the prototypes, wrote on Facebook that the Scout vehicles would utilise VW technology and logistics, but they will not utilise the skateboard platform.

This suggests that the Scout vehicles may have a distinct body-on-frame architecture.

In the same vein as the rumour about outsourcing, Volkswagen has not confirmed this information.