Volkswagen Considering Electric Pickup for U.S. Market

The resurrected Scout brand has been tapped as a partner for the proposed U.S.-produced Volkswagen truck currently under design in Germany.

Greg Kable

February 23, 2024

4 Min Read
VW Scout-groundbreaking-usa-south-carolina
Groundbreaking ceremony for Scout plant held this month in Columbia, SC.

Volkswagen is studying plans to enter the North American electric pickup market with its own uniquely styled model conceived to share key elements, including its platform, drivetrain, electronic architecture and chassis, with upcoming models from the recently resurrected Scout brand.

As a pivotal part of a broader strategy aiming to significantly raise the profile and sales potential of the VW brand in the US, the dual-cab model is intended to rival the electric-powered Rivian RT1, Ford F-150 Lightening, Tesla Cybertruck and Dodge Ram 1500 REV, according to sources at the German automaker.

WardsAuto can confirm the pickup is among a brace of future electric models currently at an early stage of design development under VW design boss Andreas Mindt.

Mindt, who headed up design operations at the Volkswagen Group’s Bentley brand before being brought back to its namesake brand as a replacement for Josef Kaban in 2023, is said to be looking to provide the truck with a bold yet functional appearance with classical VW design elements and clear stylistic differentiation from the new Scout pickup, conceptual images of which were made public last year by Scout CEO Scott Keogh.

The VW pickup’s dimensions remain secret, though its cabin and tray dimensions are claimed to be larger than those of the Rivian RT1, which measures 217.1 ins. (5,515mm) long, 81.8 ins. (2,078 mm) wide and 75.7 ins. (1,923 mm) tall.   

With a different a positioning and brand profile, VW believes it will not divert sales from Scout.

The basis for the VW pickup is a uniquely developed platform to be shared with the new Scout pickup and its so-called RUV (Rugged Utility Vehicle) sibling – the latter of which is expected to be previewed in concept form later this year before going on sale during second-half 2026.

Details relating to the new platform remain under wraps, though it is expected to use a ladder frame design to provide it with the sort of off-road capability and general ruggedness demanded by traditional pickup customers.

The Volkswagen Group is yet to share information about the battery partner for its new range of Scout models. However, the recent announcement confirming its PowerCo division plans to establish a battery manufacturing facility in Ontario, Canada, suggests it will provide battery packs for both U.S.-built Scout and VW pickup models.

Power for the proposed VW model, which insiders describe as being in a conceptual phase of development, will come from a dual electric motor drivetrain, providing permanent four-wheel-drive capability in combination with torque vectoring and tank turn functions, WardsAuto has been told.

Key drivetrain components, including electric motors, inverters, heat pumps and power electronics, are planned to be sourced from within the Volkswagen Group.

Engineering development for the new Scout lineup has been commissioned by the Volkswagen Group to contract-manufacturing specialist Magna Steyr in a deal said to be worth up to $500 million. The Austrian-based company has been involved in the development of several electric models in recent years, including the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Fisker Ocean and Jaguar I-Pace.

Production of the VW pickup is set to take place alongside the two Scout models at a manufacturing facility being constructed in Columbia, SC. The plant is to become the new home for the Scout brand in the U.S.

While the VW model is seen as a sibling to the Scout pickup, rumors suggest Audi is planning to create its own rugged SUV model as a twin to the Scout RUV.

VW is no stranger to the pickup market, having partnered with Toyota to produce the Hilux-based Taro in the early 1990s. Its commercial vehicles division also developed the first-generation Amarok launched in 2010. More recently, it has partnered with Ford to develop the fourth-generation Ranger and its sister model, the second-generation Amarok.

Volkswagen has long entertained the idea of entering the potentially lucrative U.S. pickup market with a model larger than Amarok, which is sold in other global markets, including Australia, South Africa and South America.

Initial plans for a VW pickup to be sold in North America were based on a long-wheelbase version of the first-generation Touareg. More recently, VW revealed the Tanoak – a 214.1-in.- (5,438 mm) long concept truck based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform and sharing its drivetrain and chassis with the Atlas SUV manufactured at VW’s plant in Chattanooga, TN.

Recent comments attributed to VW’s U.S. CEO, Pablo Di Si, suggesting the company had shelved plans for a second pickup model larger than the existing Amarok are claimed to refer to an earlier strategy for an internal-combustion-engine model previewed by the Tanoak.

“An electric pickup is a whole new ballgame. We see it as a chance for the Volkswagen brand to enter what has traditionally been one of the largest market segments in the U.S.,” says an insider with knowledge of its future model plans. 


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