Volkswagen eyes US sites for new factory to build Scout EVs
The Volkswagen Group plans to build electric pickup trucks and SUVs under the Scout brand at a new production site in the United States.
The announcement was made by CEO Herbert Diess yesterday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Reuters reports. The executive acknowledged that VW assesses “brownfields and some virgin sites.“
Separately, Volkswagen Group CFO Arno Antlitz said the company does not rule out a possible listing of Scout brand shares. However, he added that it was too early to discuss such a decision.
The automaker plans to expand its presence in the US market in the passenger vehicle and commercial vehicle segments, and the Scout electric SUVs and pickup trucks will play an important role in this strategy. The Volkswagen Group plans to invest $7.5 billion over the next five years to expand its product line in the United States, including the addition of an electric pickup truck, Antlitz said.
Volkswagen Group Scout electric pickup and SUV
Note that U.S. VW dealerships have been caught off guard by plans to create a separate, independent Scout unit, as the automaker has not committed to selling its future rugged electric vehicles through existing dealerships.
Two days after the official May 11 announcement, VW of America Sales and Marketing Director Andrew Savvas sent a letter to the brand’s 650 dealerships telling them that Scout will be an independent brand within the group and that they will have no right to its products.
Naturally, dealers suspect Volkswagen wants to adopt Tesla’s direct-selling model for Scout electric vehicles or create new franchises that circumvent them.
Their growing concern has led dealers to demand answers from VW bosses through the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and state associations. Automotive News reports that NADA CEO Mike Stanton sent a letter to VW Group of America CEO Scott Keogh on May 24 urging him to “Quickly and clearly communicate Scout’s distribution plan to your dealers who have made significant investments to support VW’s business model and its transformation to electrification.“
In the document, Stanton also warned that “the longer your resellers go without information and without answers to their questions, the more speculation will fill the void.Several state dealer associations have sent similar letters to the automaker.