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After being taken off guard, VW dealers need answers about the Scout EV brand

Volkswagen dealers were left angry, shocked and suspicious by surprise news that the brand’s German parent plans to build a new company in the U.S. to sell an electric pickup and SUV under the Scout name, not least because Volkswagen AG was silent on how it intends to retail the vehicles. The lack of information…

Volkswagen dealers were shocked, surprised and suspicious when they learned that the brand’s German parent planned to create a new company in the U.S. to sell an electric pickup truck and SUV under the Scout title ,. This was not surprising considering Volkswagen AG has been silent about how it plans to market the vehicles.

The lack of information from Wolfsburg immediately after the May 11, announcement left some dealers wondering whether VW CEO Herbert Diess — who often speaks glowingly of Tesla and Elon Musk — might be looking to emulate Tesla’s direct-sales model for Scout vehicles or set up new franchises that would bypass their stores.

“That’s what it feels like to me,” one VW dealer told Automotive News after the announcement, on condition of anonymity. They would have informed us if they were going to have any involvement. They haven’t spoken to us either before or after the announcement. “

VW Group said it will build a “separate, independent company” to resurrect the Scout name, which it acquired last year as part of its heavy-truck subsidiary’s purchase of Navistar. It plans to show its first prototypes next year and start production in 2026, though details of where remain unclear.

” After Volkswagen’s success in the U.S. turnaround, we now have the chance to strengthen our position there. Diess stated in a statement. “Electrification offers a historic chance to enter the highly desirable pickup and [rugged-SUV], segment as a group. This underlines our ambition to be a relevant player here in the U.S. market. “

The Wall Street Journal first reported last week that the group’s supervisory board was making the move and said it was targeting 250,000 sales per year from the Scout lineup.

On Friday, May 13, VW of America sales and marketing head Andrew Savvas sent a letter to the brand’s 650 dealers, confirming that Scout will be an independent brand within VW Group and that they will have no claim on its products.

The letter didn’t seem to calm dealers’ fears about VW’s plans.
Diess believes that the German automaker can hold a 10 percent market share across all of its brands in the U.S., and he tasked VW of America CEO Scott Keogh with making that happen by the end of the decade. Keogh has said it would be difficult to hit that target without “playing” in the pickup segment, which represents about 15 percent of the overall U.S. market.

VW Group CFO Arno Antlitz said that Scout “wil

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