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Volkswagen Scout
Image courtesy of Scout Motors

Cars

Volkswagen Prioritizes Scout Motors Instead Of New Pickup Trucks

Volkswagen is going all in on an electric pickup truck and SUV from Scout Motors rather than offering a pickup of its own.

Americans love pickup trucks. They also love SUVs. For Volkswagen of America, that’s a problem. There has been no Volkswagen pickup sold in North America since sales of the Rabbit pickup ended in 1983. Its dealers are clamoring for a truck to rival the Honda Ridgeline, Volkswagen brand CEO Thomas Schäfer told Automotive News recently,

“At the moment, our focus on the lineup doesn’t include it. We have a clear lineup all the way through the second half of this decade. Then again, in the American market, if you don’t play in certain segments then you have to stay in a certain market share area. But the question of [the new ‘Rugged SUV’ platform] is not our priority at the moment.”

Pablo Di Si, head of Volkswagen’s North American division, added, “What are the relevant segments in the U.S.? SUVs and pickups. Are we going to have a pickup? I will try. Do we have one now? No. Right now, my focus is on strengthening the SUV portfolio. I will address pickups at the right time, but right now I have other issues to tackle.”

That may be true of the Volkswagen brand, but it is most definitely not true of the new Scout Motors sub-division. The company has launched a new website to share more information about the rugged electric pickup truck and SUV that are expected to debut in 2026 and wear the Scout badge. It proclaims,

THE WORLD NEEDS SCOUTS.
To honor where we’ve come from.
To unlock the potential of what lies ahead.
To show our land the respect it deserves.
To lift up our communities and haul their heaviest burdens.
To lead the charge into the great unknown.
Scouts go first. Scouts go farther. Scouts always come back to lead the way.

We are carrying on that everlasting spirit.
We are Scout Motors.

We’re making the next generation
of all-electric trucks and rugged SUVs
for American drivers.

According to Autoblog, the new teaser photo that appears on the Scout website hints at big knobbly tires, roof rails for carrying cargo, bicycles, and such, plenty of ground clearance, skid plates, and perhaps (gasp!) a bench seat!

A forum accessed from the website puts things bluntly. “Scout Motors wants to hear your feedback and speak directly to the rabid community of owners as unique as America. We’ll use the Scout Community to deliver news and information on events and launch updates directly to the group. Although the start of production is anticipated in 2026, many new developments and milestones will occur in the interim. We plan to share them with you on this site and will look for your feedback and suggestions.”

Autoblog says Volkswagen has already chatted with big names in the vintage Scout community, one of whom writes on Facebook that he spent time talking to some of the engineers and designers tasked with bringing the project to fruition and got the chance to check out early prototypes. He reported that community and history are “very important” to the folks in charge of resurrecting the Scout and they want to stay as true to the original as possible.

Maybe. The original Scout was as bare bones a vehicle as you can imagine. Engineered by the fun folks at International Harvester, it had all the creature comforts of a farm tractor. Solid axles front and rear. More levers than a forklift sprouting from the transmission tunnel. “Utilitarian” is perhaps the best way to describe it, and that’s being charitable.

The idea that Volkswagen is going to recreate the original vehicle complete with rubber floor mats and painted interior surfaces is hard to believe. We shall see.

 
 
 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?

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