Volkswagen Australia wants to throw a Jamboree for the Scout brand, putting its hand up 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,” 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].
“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.”
Scout has released sketches and a shadowy teaser of its first vehicles, with concept versions of both set to be revealed in 2023 and production to commence in 2026.
The new off-roaders won’t be rebadged versions of other Volkswagen Group products. VW says the company is being formed to “design, engineer, and manufacture pick-up and rugged” models for the US market.
Instead of the MEB platform being used for vehicles like the ID.3 and ID.4, the R-SUV range (as VW has dubbed it) will be built on a “new technical platform concept”.
The company is forecasting annual sales of 250,000 vehicles, though it hasn’t spoken of a presence for the brand outside of North America.
Sources have told Automobilwoche the German automaker is in talks with Foxconn — the contract manufacturer most famous for producing the Apple iPhone — about manufacturing the Scout range.
Should Volkswagen decide to go with Foxconn, it will benefit from US production of the Scout. Under the rules of the Biden administration’s recently passed infrastructure bill, American-made EVs with enough local components can be sold with Federal tax credits reducing the purchase price by up to US$7500 ($11,500).
Volkswagen isn’t the only company developing a boxy, electric off-roader.
Rivian already has the R1S SUV and R1T pickup, Jeep has previewed its upcoming Recon due mid-decade, and Mercedes-Benz has an electric G-Class in development.
Over in China, BYD is establishing a premium brand called Yangwang, with a boxy SUV spied testing. Chery is also introducing the Jetour T-1, which bears a resemblance to the Land Rover Defender.
Looking more broadly at electric pickup trucks, there will soon be a vast number of options in the North American market. The Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning will be joined by the Chevrolet Silverado EV, Ram 1500 BEV, GMC Sierra EV and Tesla Cybertruck in the coming years.
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 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.