An Electric Pickup from Volkswagen Built in the U.S.?

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Scott Keogh at the LA Auto Show in 2018 beside VW bus draped in silver cover with VW symbol on screen in background
Scott Keogh, shown here at the LA Auto Show in 2018, will lead VW's new spin-off company, Scout, which will produce and sell all-electric pickups and SUVs in the U.S.
Tom Quimby

Volkswagen recently announced plans for a new spin-off company that will build and sell electric pickups and SUVs in the U.S.

In keeping with its plan to produce the biggest lineup of EVs in North America, Volkswagen created a separate company called Scout, the once-popular brand of pickups and SUVs produced by International Harvester. VW Group’s European commercial truck brand, Traton, acquired Navistar last year, which paved the way for VW’s use of the name.

So, are there plans for a Scout work truck or at least a low-cost version that will appeal to fleets? Unfortunately, Scout’s PR team wouldn’t say, but in all fairness, it’s not clear if Scout even has a PR office yet. We’re assuming they do since they have an email address, so hopefully someone will respond before too long.

Regarding their plans for Scout, VW Group said they’re “building on the iconic Scout brand, to develop and manufacture a ‘true American’ electric rugged SUV and pickup-truck brand in the U.S. Entering the market will help Volkswagen AG to deliver on its growth ambitions aimed at doubling the market share of Group companies in the U.S.”

VW is aiming to offer more EV models in North America than any other manufacturer. By the end of the decade, they plan on having 25 EV models available for purchase.

Volkswagen will soon start local assembly of its all-electric ID.4 compact SUV in Chattanooga, Tenn. which the company reports “will help meet high customer demand in the market.”

The chances for an all-electric cargo van, however, look pretty slim at this point. Though VW rolled out a prototype of its all-electric cargo variant of ID.Buzz at the LA Auto Show in 2018, there’s a stiff import tax in place that will more than likely keep the van confined overseas.

“You won’t see the Buzz Cargo here because of the 25% Chicken Tax on commercial vehicles built overseas,” said Mark Gillies, head of product and technology communication at Volkswagen Group of America.

Former U.S. President Lyndon Johnson enacted the Chicken Tax in 1964 through an executive order following Europe’s heavy tax on chicken imported from the U.S.