With Volkswagen’s announcement that it was reviving the fabled Scout SUV as an EV, you would have thought its dealers in the US would be jumping for joy. After all, the plan is for both an EV truck and SUV. That’s two more vehicles for dealers to sell. But for a number of reasons, VW’s dealers are upset about the latest news.
Why are VW dealers mad about the Scout announcement?
Let’s start with how VW plans on selling these new Scouts. We don’t know. And that is why dealers are upset. They suspect that VW will try to market them as does Tesla, which sells directly to buyers, bypassing the VW dealer network.
“That’s what it feels like to me,” one VW dealer told Automotive News. “If we were going to have any involvement, they would have told us something. But they haven’t said a word to us, either before or after the announcement.” In the past, VW CEO Herbert Diess has spoken highly of Tesla and its change in the industry.
In its announcement last week, it stated it would create a “separate, independent company” to produce the Scout. Then May 13, VW of America’s Andrew Savvas, head of sales and marketing, confirmed dealers won’t be involved in Scout sales.
Does VW sell any pickup trucks like the Scout?
For years US dealers have asked VW to give them a truck and more SUVs to sell. So another pain point is springing the news of a new pickup and SUV without any communication with its dealers. Pickups represent around 15 percent of US sales.
In the announcement, it says the goal is to sell 250,000 Scout trucks and SUVs per year. In all, it sold 375,000 vehicles last year. The company also says that keeping Scout independent from the rest of its product portfolio ties into its “new group steering model.” That means “small units that act agilely and have access to our tech platforms to leverage synergies.”
Right now, details are almost nonexistent. How this new entity would function, and who will head it are not known? It is also unknown if other brands will be added to this new company carved out of VW?
“I would hope at least we’d get the first crack at them”
One dealer did say that if VW Group does sell Scout vehicles through franchises, “I would hope, after all that we’ve been through together, that we would at least get the first crack at them.” In a statement, the company added that “the introduction of an electric pickup truck brand in the U.S. reflects the Volkswagen Group’s growth ambitions to become a key player in the region while addressing a critical need in the market. We aim to share more news as it becomes available.”
While welcomed by enthusiasts, the news raises more questions than answers. And with the Scout’s introduction set for 2026, it has some time not only to develop a worthy product that honors the brand but also to set up what looks to be an entirely new entity in VW’s world.