VW backed Scout Motors will build its first US manufacturing plant in Blythewood, near Columbia, South Carolina, the state governor announced.
The state is already home to BMW, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz assembly plants plus associated suppliers.
The company will build all electric trucks and SUVs, reviving a brand once part of International Harvester/Navistar which produced vehicles from 1960 to 1980.
The company’s US$2bn investment “has the potential to create 4,000 or more permanent jobs. At full capacity, more than 200,000 Scout vehicles may be produced annually at the facility”. a statement from governor Henry McMaster said.
“Scout trucks and rugged SUVs will be built on a newly designed all-electric platform that delivers credible capability and off-road prowess. With internal engineering focused on attributes including ground clearance, approach angles, robust axles, payload capacity, all-electric range and new digital features, Scout products will honour its heritage while injecting fresh American ingenuity to create a new era of iconic all-purpose vehicles.”
Scout Motors is based in Tysons, Virginia.
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The Blythewood site spans 1,600 acres and the plant will occupy 1,100 acres. Vehicle production is targeted to begin by the end of 2026.
Scout Motors is an independent US company, backed by VW Group, with an experienced board including Gernot Doellner, head of group strategy at VW AG, and Bentley manufacturing chief Peter Bosch.
“Scout is currently evaluating the potential for outside investment,” the statement said.
Reuters reported earlier Volkswagen‘s supervisory board had, last Friday, discussed plans for a vehicle assembly and a battery cell plant in North America.
Reuters sources had said while a supervisory board committee was expected to approve a site for the (former International Harvester/Navistar) Scout brand in the US, discussions around a gigafactory were open ended.
The Scout brand is a key part of Volkswagen’s target to gain 10% market share in the US, the news agency noted.
Reuters also noted Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume had in December said the carmaker had begun searching for a site for a battery cell factory in North America, adding Canada was “one logical option” due to its raw material resources.
“We are still working hard to find a suitable location for our first gigafactory in North America and are in good, constructive talks,” a VW spokesperson told Reuters, adding no decision had yet been made.
TheDetroitBureau.com said VW had purchased the rights to the Scout name last May and announced plans to invest an initial US$1bn to relaunch the brand. After the acquisition it had indicated the first concept vehicles would be revealed in 2023 with production scheduled to begin sometime in 2026.