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24 yr Ago Dead Scout being Resurrected in USA

When something like this happens, there is chaos, unrest and speculation about the actual truth. But it is for real, and the dead is being b...

When something like this happens, there is chaos, unrest and speculation about the actual truth. But it is for real, and the dead is being brought to life since its demise in 1980. Since 1960's, a well known identity for the ruggedness before all the others emerged, was there this Scout.

Getting back Scout Motors to the roads, now in an electric format and the historical common man's friendly, countryside mobility leader is get back to the roads. German firm Volkswagen group, now the exclusive owner of the brand has broke ground on its new factory in South Carolina. Here, it will eventually churn out hundreds of thousands of rugged, battery-powered off-roaders.

A bird's eye-view of the upcoming Scout Motors plant

The newly appointed CEO of Scout Motors, Scott Keogh said,

"Typically, when there’s a groundbreaking ceremony for a new factory, all the executives line up with their commemorative golden shovels and pose for photos throwing the first patch of dirt.

But didn’t want to play any “fake shovel games” for the groundbreaking of our company’s new factory outside Blythewood, Columbia in South Carolina."

In fact, the team found a brick from the old International Harvester factory in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where the original Scout SUVs were manufactured from 1961 until the brand was discontinued in 1980. That brick will serve as a launch point for the electric rebirth of Scout in the US, as well as a reminder of its storied past.

“That’s going to give us a powerful beginning here,” Keogh was heard summing it up a day before the groundbreaking ceremony.

The origin of the Scout

Scout was a name that used to be synonymous with rugged, off-road sport utility vehicles, a first one introduced in 1961 by International Harvester as a small, two-door SUV with a raised, boxy design. The original production was stopped in 1980, when it went bust to the competition. Later, Volkswagen bought Navistar International in 2020, so eventually acquired the rights to Scout brand along with it. 

A vintage Scout SUV

VW known to own multiple brands, decided to resurrect Scout as a future EV-only marque. German being a auto-giant worldwide, had a relatively small market share in the US, and in a bid to recapture some relevancy decided to resurrect Scout back to life.

“The godfather is returning,” Keogh said. “If you think about it, Scout sort of invented the segment.”

Scout's new factory

Scout’s future factory is all set to setup in a 1,600-acre site in Blythewood, South Carolina, about 20 miles from Columbia. The production capacity of the plant is planned to at least 200,000 vehicles annually at the upcoming facility.

Google map grab of future Scout factory

South Carolina Legislature has approved a $1.3 billion tax incentive package for Scout, under the assurance that the company would create thousands of jobs for the locals. VW owned Scout has said it is going to invest $2 billion in the project, and generate “4,000+ permanent job opportunities.”

Keogh said the soil work at the site has been completed, and now the company will begin to lay the foundation this summer. Vehicle production is slated to kick off in late 2026, ramping into full volume production in 2027.

Future Scouts'

Scout is expected to reveal its first vehicle, an electric pickup truck, later this year at the Detroit Auto Show this summer. Later followed by an SUV about six months later into the production line.

A silhouette of the future Scout

Speaking on the design aspects, the new Scout was told to be retain the original logo, as well as a lot of the old graphics, with real buttons giving it a reminiscence of the original rugged machines it was known for as against the touch only screens in the new trends in the EV industry. But there will be limits to Scout’s dedication to nostalgia as it tries to build a new brand.

“We didn’t want to say to America, ‘It’s the ‘70s again,’” Keogh said. “It’s the 21st century and of course it’s a modern car.”

The technology

The issue there is that most modern cars are also computers, and Scout’s desire to be a vehicle for the rugged set could clash with today’s over-reliance on touchscreens and semiconductors.

Keogh said the problem with EVs is that many of them are built to be “isolation machines,” sheltering drivers from the outside world with hyper-intelligent software, advanced driver assist systems, and plenty of gadgets and gizmos. That’s not Scout’s guiding philosophy. The door handles on Scout’s future vehicles will be real door handles, for example.

“We do believe in mechanical,” he said, “and we believe in chunky buttons.”

VW, in particular, has run into trouble deploying functional software in its vehicles, leading to a lot of scrambling in the top tiers of the company. Some of its early EVs have been criticized for putting too much functionality behind the touchscreen.

It’s too early to say how Scout will approach things differently. But Keogh provided some insight into how the company will approach the thorny issue of software and technology.

Off the line, Scout’s first EVs are expected to be relatively simple in order to streamline the production process. The engineering teams will be testing wiring harnesses to ensure the whole system is stable and functional right out of the gate. Any additional complexity can be added later through over-the-air software updates, he said.

“Use software where it can make a difference,” Keogh added. “Pull it behind the curtain as much as you can.”, said in a truly American way of depicting the future.

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