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VW plans to bring back the original SUV, the Scout, as an off-road electric vehicle. It also plans on putting the Scout name on an EV pickup. Since VW purchased International Trucks, also known as Navistar, in 2020, there have been rumors it would revive the Scout name. The Scout was originally made by International. It was introduced in 1961 and lasted into its Scout II second generation through 1980. 

2026 Scout
2026 Scout SUV and pickup concept | VW

According to numerous sources, VW is investing $106 million to revive the brand. It may take the brand public to generate more capital necessary to launch the brand. This is in response to the takeover of SUVs in the U.S., which accounts for 75 percent of VW and Audi sales here. Sales of both VW and Audi were down 30 percent last quarter alone. 

What was the original Scout?

International Scout
1980 International Scout | VW

In 1961 International debuted its new SUV as a sporty, four-wheel-drive, family recreational vehicle. Enthusiasts loved its boxy styling and amount of interior space. It spawned an entirely new version in 1971 that kept the boxy look but increased dimensions. 

In 1966 Ford responded with the Bronco, and then Chevy launched the Blazer the following year. International also marketed the Travelall, similar to the Chevy Suburban, and a pickup variant. Both left the marketplace after 1974. 

When will the new Scout debut?

International Scout
1961 International Scout advertising | VW

VW’s ambitious plan is to sell 250,000 Scout vehicles a year starting in 2026. It is obviously eyeing the overwhelming success of both the Ford F-150 Lightning and GMC Hummer as guiding lights for its Scout plans. It expects half of its sales to be all-electric by 2030. Meanwhile, Ford and GM have their sights set squarely on EVs. Ford CEO Jim Farley recently said it will “challenge Tesla and all comers to become the top EV maker in the world.” 

Earlier there were rumors that Tesla and VW would join forces. But VW CEO Herbert Diess recently told NBC, “No, we haven’t considered that. Instead, we are going our own way. We want to get close and then overtake.” He also announced that VW would invest $7.1 billion in the U.S. over the next five years. Overall, it expects to launch 25 new EVs in the next five years. It will also start manufacturing batteries here. 

How many Scouts can VW expect to sell in the U.S.?

979 Harvester Scout
Modified 1979 International Scout | Getty

VW executives have made many comments in the past about U.S. sales goals and market share that have proven tougher than expected. And to be honest, selling 250,000 Scouts seems like an insurmountable goal. Last year it sold 375,000 vehicles in total in the U.S. But, VW is one of the largest automakers in the world. It is definitely in a position to manufacture whatever the market will demand. 

Some dislike retro, but you can’t ignore the Bronco’s success, and the reception VW’s own ID Buzz retro van. Whether the styling will take on a retro theme isn’t known. But the response to the return of the Scout is already screaming across the internet, so following in the retro party might not be a bad thing? 

International Scout
1978 International Scout pickup | VW

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