After ‘Hippie’ Bus and Beetle, VW Eyes America Once more

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Volkswagen eyes EV expansion in US with revival of 'Scout' brand

As Volkswagen seeks to revive the Scout model in the USA, CEO Herbert Diess has highlighted the choice, saying it represents a chance for the German auto large to “change into extra American”.

VW final Wednesday introduced plans to relaunch the Scout as a completely electrical pick-up and “rugged” SUV, with prototypes as a result of seem in 2023 and manufacturing deliberate to start in 2026.

In the identical announcement, the corporate mentioned the automobiles could be “designed, engineered and manufactured within the US for US clients.”

“America is the largest development alternative for us,” Dias, who was chatting with CNBC’s Annette Weisbach final week, mentioned.

He defined why the automaker was concentrating on the fiercely aggressive US market.

“We’re nonetheless very specialised, very small, with round 4% market share [in the country],” he mentioned. “We need to obtain 10% market share by the tip of this decade.”

Diess confused that the agency had momentum, was worthwhile and was “actually making good progress with electrical automobiles.”

These automobiles embrace the absolutely electrical ID Buzz, impressed by the T1 microbus or “hippie” van. European variations of the ID Buzz are set to go on sale this 12 months, with gross sales for an American mannequin slated to start in 2024.

This 1970 picture exhibits folks driving a model of a Volkswagen Microbus at a rock pageant in Oregon.

Brian Payne/Pix | Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Photographs

VW would count on The discharge of the Scout and ID Buzz will proceed their custom of introducing iconic designs to the US market. Through the years, these have included numerous iterations of beetles and microbuses, similar to those pictured above.

Scout’s historical past dates again to the Sixties, when Worldwide Harvester – initially an agricultural firm, now generally known as Navistar Worldwide Company – started improvement. At present, Navistar is a part of the Trautan Group, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.

Manufacturing of the Scout ceased in 1980, however Volkswagen’s determination to relaunch it, and Diess’s feedback, present some clues to its technique going ahead.

“If we actually need to be related in America, we’ve to have a look at different areas,” he mentioned. “And the pick-ups, the massive SUVs, are very, very massive in America.”

Dias described Scout as a “beloved model in the USA. So it is a good alternative for us to change into extra American.”

Learn extra about electrical automobiles from CNBC Professional

When requested if the Scout pickup could be for the US market solely, he was non-committal. “I would not say ‘fully devoted’ however at the beginning… it is an American product.”

“It is going to be an American product for US clients, designed for the US setting. Will it’s bought exterior? Possibly, that will probably be determined later,” Dees mentioned.

VW plans to arrange a separate and impartial firm this 12 months to design, engineer and manufacture the Scout pick-up and SUV for the US market.

Volkswagen’s concentrate on electrical automobiles is a world away from the “Dieselgate” scandal that rocked it in 2010. At present, its electrification plans put it in direct competitors with long-established automakers like GM and Ford, in addition to relative newcomers like Tesla.

Given the corporate’s total prospects within the US, Dias was bullish.

“We’re constructing capability in the USA… later this 12 months, round August, will start manufacturing of the ID 4 at our Chattanooga amenities,” he mentioned.

“We now have applications in place for Audi and Porsche to extend their market share and … we are going to see manufacturing of some extra merchandise for the US, electrical merchandise within the US.”

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