Another iconic automotive brand is set to reemerge in an EV rebirth. Scout Motors on Friday announced plans to build a $2 billion manufacturing plant in Blythewood, South Carolina, about 20 miles north of Columbia.
The plant will build next-generation trucks and rugged SUVs inspired by the Scout vehicles produced from 1961 to 1980. The original Scout was developed by International Harvester as a Jeep competitor.
The new plant could create more than 4,000 permanent jobs, employees tasked with producing some 200,000 Scouts each year.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for mid-2023 and production is projected to begin in 2026, with retail sales coming soon thereafter.
While Scout Motors is backed by Volkswagen Group, with a board of directors that includes notables from VW and VW-owned Bentley Motors, the vehicles will be designed, engineered and manufactured in the U.S. for American customers.The first prototypes are scheduled to be unveiled next year.
According to VW, the electric Scout will be built upon a new all-electric platform concept that brings new pickup and RUV credibility beyond VW’s current portfolio.
Product development will be particularly focused on ground clearance, approach angles, robust axles, payload capacity, all-electric range and new digital features.
While Scout Motors is based in Tysons, Virginia, the site in the Palmetto State spans 1,600 acres, the plant will occupy 1,100 acres.
VW sees Scout as a way to increase profitability and market share in the U.S. According to Arno Antlitz, CFO of Volkswagen Group, allowing Scout Motors to operate independently is part of a new corporate strategy that empowers small units to act more like a startup, but with access to the carmaker’s tech platforms.