The electric rebirth of the classic off-road SUV brand Scout became real this week as Volkswagen named Scott Keogh the CEO of its new spinoff.Former head of Volkswagen Group USA, originally owned by Love Newspushing VW to launch a new line of electric trucks after seeing a fully restored vintage Scout: “The brand’s rights are just sitting there,” Keogh said.
Volkswagen acquired the Scout brand through the 2020 merger of its commercial cargo company Traton with Navistar, the German automaker that originally acquired part of Navistar in 2016. In May, it was reported that Volkswagen Group was willing to inject $1 billion into the new Scout brand and set a goal of selling 250,000 electric SUVs under the brand annually starting in 2026.
With Keogh now leading Scout, Volkswagen’s management board in Chattanooga, Tennessee, handed all responsibilities for Volkswagen North America to Pablo Di Si, the current head of Volkswagen South America. “It’s time to focus more on the U.S. market and U.S. customers, and of course Scout is part of that,” said Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess. Love News in an interview. The report said the company said it would develop “truly American” electric SUVs and pickups as it seeks to restore a reputation battered by the “dieselgate” emissions scandal.
Volkswagen wants Scout to double its 5% U.S. EV market share; automaker hits roadblocks this year after selling out all of its EV offerings, including ID.4 and Audi E-trons, in 2022 . In its previous life, Scout built an off-road SUV to compete with Jeep in the 1960s, and is now reborn as a company that can thrive separate from VW (and possibly go public) so it can try to compete with what’s still very popular in the U.S. Popular electric SUVs and trucks go head to head.
Will Scout design boxy retro SUVs like the indefinitely delayed Bollinger B1/B2 and Hummer EV, or will it follow the trend of other midsize and compact SUVs with aging nameplates like the Ford Mustang Mach- E and the new Chevrolet Blazer. One thing’s for sure: The company is said to be developing vehicles suitable for camping, off-roading, or for work — a clear indication that Ford’s F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T electric pickups are prime targets.