The plant will produce electric-powered pickups and SUVs. It will be Volkswagen’s second U.S. assembly factory along with its existing operations in Chattanooga. Production is expected to begin in 2026.
More than 200,000 vehicles could be produced annually at the facility Scout Motors said in a statement.
“We are reimagining Scout’s original ingenuity and electrifying its future,” said Scout CEO Scott Keogh.
The brand said its trucks and rugged SUVs will harken back to the iconic Scout vehicles produced from 1960 to 1980.
They will be built “on a newly designed all-electric platform with internal engineering focused on attributes including ground clearance, approach angles, robust axles, payload capacity, all-electric range, and new digital features,” Scout said.
The plant will manufacture vehicles exclusively for that brand and not for other group brands such as Volkswagen or Audi, a VW Group of America spokesman told Automotive News.
The Scout SUV had a successful run when it was built by International Harvester.
Scout and Travelall vehicles made by International Harvester were forerunners in both function and style of the popular SUVs from Detroit’s Big Three automakers such as the Ford Bronco and General Motors’ Chevrolet Suburban.
Harvester stopped building the Scout and Travelall in 1980 after the oil price shocks of the mid-1970s as it went through a restructuring. But the Scout’s rugged “look” lives on in vehicles such as Ford’s current Bronco and electric vehicle startup Rivian’s pickup and SUV line.
VW said in May that it would reintroduce the Scout off-road brand in the U.S. The automaker’s Traton business acquired U.S. truck maker Navistar in 2020, which owns the Scout name.
Scout was created by VW Group’s board in 2022 under the leadership of then-CEO Herbert Diess. The brand is only now building up its management teams under Keogh, the former CEO of VW of America.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster tweeted on Friday: “This morning we got the call that Scout Motors is coming to South Carolina – bringing with them 4,000 new jobs and a $2 billion investment! This decision will provide thousands of South Carolinians jobs, opportunities and prosperity for generations to come.”
This morning we got the call that Scout Motors is coming to South Carolina – bringing with them 4,000 new jobs and a $2 billion investment! This decision will provide thousands of South Carolinians jobs, opportunities and prosperity for generations to come. pic.twitter.com/RPYtArtfua
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) March 3, 2023
The plant will be in Blythewood, a town of approximately 4,800 residents about 19 miles north of Columbia.
VW Group has taken great pains to keep Scout Motors a separate entity from its existing VW Group of America corporate structure. If the two entities were linked, it might provide VW and Audi dealers a claim that Scout vehicles should be retailed at their dealerships. Thus far, however, Keogh and Scout Motors have not said how the brand’s vehicles will be sold in the U.S.
VW Group has moved away from cars in the U.S. as it adds more electric models. SUVs now account for about 80 percent of the U.S. sales of the group’s VW and Audi brands.
VW last sold a pickup in the U.S. in the early 1980s.
The VW news is the latest major auto announcement for South Carolina, which is home to BMW’s U.S. operations and its largest plant by volume. The state also has over 500 automotive-related companies and 75,000 automotive industry employees.
BMW said in October it would invest $1.7 billion to build electric vehicles in South Carolina. The automaker made a new $1 billion investment in its Spartanburg plant to prepare for EV production and is spending $700 million on a new high-voltage battery assembly facility in nearby Woodruff, South Carolina.
Reuters contributed to this report