For years, Volkswagen was unable to deliver the pick-ups that are popular in the USA, of all things, but now the group wants to launch its own electric car brand from 2026. A battery-electric flatbed truck under the traditional manufacturer name Scout is planned. This was announced by VW on Wednesday evening after a meeting of the supervisory board in Wolfsburg. It would be a kind of revival of the SUVs of the former Chicago-based car, truck and farm equipment manufacturer International Harvester. In a first stage, 100 million euros are to be invested in the project, according to people close to the company.
The search for a way to gain a foothold in the pick-up market had been going on for some time. Although Volkswagen’s light commercial vehicles have had such a model in their range with the Amarok for many years, it was not sold in the USA of all places. One reason was a bizarre import hurdle with which Washington had repaid trade barriers for exported chickens with higher import duties for certain types of cars (“Chicken Tax”).
Ford, Tesla and Rivian build electric pickups
As a result, domestic providers such as General Motors and Ford dominated the domestic business with pick-up trucks. US electric car manufacturers such as Tesla and Rivian are now also active in the sector. An Amarok successor developed by VW platform partner Ford is to be presented this summer. So far, the group has delivered a good 830,000 VW Amaroks in Europe, South America, South Africa and Oceania.
Things didn’t go well for Volkswagen in the USA for a long time after the diesel exhaust gas fraud was first exposed there. The exact strategy was often not entirely clear to observers either – in the meantime, for example, a “limousine offensive” had been launched, while business with SUVs was picking up more and more. In 2021, after years of losses, the group managed to turn the important market into the black.
Ten percent market share planned by 2030
CEO Herbert Diess is now aiming for a total market share of 10 percent in the United States by 2030. In addition, there should also be more e-models here. The factory in Chattanooga (Tennessee) is being expanded, and a new plant could also be built in the USA or in Mexico. The group was also not represented in the North American truck business for a long time, recently taking over the US supplier Navistar.