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After the ‘hippie’ bus and Beetle, VW makes eyes at America once again


As VolkswagenIt all looks so resurrect the Scout brand in the United StatesHerbert Diess, the CEO of the German Auto giant, has spoken out to clarify the situation, saying that it is an opportunity for them to become “much more American.” 

VW revealed plans to relaunch Scout as an electric pickup and “rugged” SUV on Wednesday. The prototypes are due to be released in 2023, and production is expected to start in 2026.

The company also announced that the vehicles will be designed, engineered and produced in America for American customers.

Diess stated that “the United States is our largest growth opportunity,” when she spoke last week to Annette Weisbach at CNBC.

He continued to discuss why the automaker wanted to target the American market which was fiercely competitive.

“We’re still very niche. We have about 4% of the market. [in the country]He said. “We aim to reach 10% of the market by the end this decade,” he said.

Diess stated that the company had momentum and was financially sound. He also said the firm is making “good progress” with electric cars.

This includes the fully-electric ID Buzz. The ID Buzz was designed after the T1 Microbus van or “hippie”. The European version of the ID Buzz will go on sale in 2018, while an American version of this vehicle will be available for purchase starting in 2024.

The image is from 1970 and shows people driving the Volkswagen Microbus to a Oregon rock festival.

Brian Payne/Pix – Michael Ochs Archives, Getty Images| Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Images

VW is hoping that with the Scout, and ID Buzz, it will continue to introduce iconic designs into the U.S. marketplace. They have also included various Microbus iterations, including the Beetle.

The Scout’s history dates back to the 1960s, when International Harvester — originally an agricultural company, now known as the Navistar International Corporation — started development. Navistar, which is a part of Traton Group today, is a subsidiary to the Volkswagen Group.

Although production of the Scout was stopped in 1980, Volkswagen’s decision, along with Diess’ remarks, to relaunch it provide clues about its future strategy.

He said, “If America is to truly be competitive in America,” Pick-ups and big SUVs are extremely popular in America.  

Diess described Scout as “a beloved brand in the United States.” It’s an opportunity to be more American.

CNBC Pro provides more details about electric vehicles

He was not willing to answer a question about whether the Scout pickup would only be for the U.S. markets. “I wouldn’t say ‘entirely dedicated’ but first and foremost … it’s an American product.”

“It will be an American product designed for American customers. Is it possible to sell the product outside? “Maybe, but it will be determined later,” Deiss said.

VW will create an independent, separate company to develop and engineer the Scout SUVs and pick-ups for the U.S. Market.

Volkswagen’s electric vehicle focus is worlds away the “dieselgate” scandal that rocked it in the 2010s.Its electrification plans place it directly in competition with established automakers such as GM FordYou can also find relative newcomers, such as Tesla.

Diess is bullish on the company’s prospects for the U.S. in the future.

“We’re building up capacities in the United States … later this year, around August, ID 4 production will start in our Chattanooga facilities,” he said.

“We have programs for Audi and Porsche to increase their market share and … we will see some more products, electric products, being produced in America, for America.”