As Volkswagen seems to be to resurrect the Scout model within the United States, CEO Herbert Diess has make clear the choice, saying it represents a chance for the German auto big to “become much more American.”
VW introduced plans to re-launch the Scout as a fully-electric pick-up and “rugged” SUV final Wednesday, with prototypes on account of be revealed in 2023 and manufacturing deliberate to start in 2026.
In the identical announcement, the corporate mentioned the automobiles can be “designed, engineered, and manufactured in the U.S. for American customers.”
“The United States is our biggest growth opportunity,” Diess, who was talking to CNBC’s Annette Weisbach final week, mentioned.
He went on to elucidate why the automaker was concentrating on the fiercely aggressive American market.
“We are still very niche, very small, with about 4% market share [in the country],” he mentioned. “We want to get up to 10% market share towards the end of this decade.”
Diess confused that the agency had momentum, was worthwhile and “really making good progress with the electric cars.”
These automobiles embrace the totally electrical ID Buzz, which is impressed by the T1 Microbus or “hippie” van. European variations of the ID Buzz are set to go on sale this yr, with gross sales of an American mannequin beginning in 2024.
This picture, from 1970, exhibits folks driving a model of the Volkswagen Microbus at a rock pageant in Oregon.
Brian Payne/Pix | Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Images
VW hopes that the introduction of the Scout and ID Buzz will proceed its custom of introducing iconic designs to the U.S. market. Over the years, these have included the Beetle and numerous iterations of the Microbus, such because the one pictured above.
The Scout’s historical past dates again to the Sixties, when International Harvester — initially an agricultural firm, now often known as the Navistar International Corporation — began growth. Today, Navistar is a part of the Traton Group, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.
Production of the Scout ceased in 1980, however Volkswagen’s resolution to re-launch it, and Diess’ feedback, present some clues to its technique going ahead.
“If we really want to become relevant in America, we have to look at the other segments,” he mentioned. “And pick-ups, big SUVs, are very, very big in America.”
Diess went on to explain Scout as a “beloved brand in the United States. So it’s a good opportunity for us to become much more American.”
Asked if the Scout pickup can be solely for the U.S. market, he was non-committal. “I wouldn’t say ‘entirely dedicated’ but first and foremost … it’s an American product.”
“It will be an American product for American customers, designed for the American environment. Will it be sold outside? Maybe, later to be decided,” Deiss added.
VW is planning to arrange a separate and unbiased firm this yr to design, engineer and manufacture the Scout pick-ups and SUVs for the U.S. market.
Volkswagen’s concentrate on electrical automobiles is a world away from the “dieselgate” scandal that rocked it within the 2010s. Today, its electrification plans put it in direct competitors with long-established automakers like GM and Ford, in addition to relative newcomers resembling Tesla.
On the corporate’s general prospects within the U.S. going ahead, Diess was bullish.
“We’re building up capacities in the United States … later this year, around August, ID 4 production will start in our Chattanooga facilities,” he mentioned.
“We have programs for Audi and Porsche to increase their market share and … we will see some more products, electric products, being produced in America, for America.”