VW's Scout EV brand receives $10 million to set up shop in Michigan

Its new 'innovation center' will be just outside Detroit

Volkswagen's startup brand Scout has received a $10 million grant from the state of Michigan. The investment will lay the foundation for a new "innovation center" in Novi, a suburb about 30 miles northwest of Detroit. With it, VW seeks to revive the old International Harvester SUVs as a new series of off-road-oriented electric vehicles.  

According to The Detroit News, VW considered other sites for Scout's nerve center, including one at the South Carolina plant that is scheduled to start manufacturing Scouts in 2026. However, the Michigan Business Development Program was able to entice Wolfsburg with the grant, which is predicted to create 200 jobs. The site will serve as the center for the resurrected brand's design and engineering team.

The original International Harvester Scout was built from 1960 to 1980. International Harvester was primarily a farm equipment manufacturer when established under the IH name at the turn of the 20th century. A small line of light trucks eventually gave way to the Scout, among the first true SUVs, predating models like the Ford Bronco and Chevy Blazer.

Eventually IH expanded business to commercial trucks, motorhomes, and school buses. In 1985 the company changed its name to Navistar after divesting itself of the IH brand and the agricultural business. In 2021, Navistar was acquired by Traton, part of the VW Group, which is how Volkswagen came to own the Scout trademark.

Initial reports say that the Scout will be designed primarily for the U.S. market, challenging competitors like the Jeep Wrangler, Toyota 4Runner and new Bronco. It is said to be a true off-roader that does not share the MEB platform used in other VW Group EVs like the VW ID series including the ID.Buzz and ID.7, as well as the Audi Q4 and Q5 E-Trons and the European Ford Explorer EV.

VW is targeting a $40,000 starting price for the SUV, which will arrive in late 2024. A pickup version is scheduled to follow in 2025. Scouts are expected to eschew a traditional dealership network, and prototypes will likely begin testing in 2024.

Volkswagen Information

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