It was May 2022 when the Volkswagen Group announced plans to revive the Scout brand with the intention to launch a purely electric pickup truck and an SUV in 2026. Later in July, Scott Keogh was appointed CEO, and a new website was launched in November. In March 2023, VW announced it would build a new $2-billion assembly plant in Blythewood, South Carolina for the two Scout models. In May 2023, Chris Benjamin was named chief of design.
Fast forward to the present day, a new report indicates VW has decided to externalize the development of the two models. According to Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung, Magna Steyr is engineering the electric SUV and truck in exchange for the princely sum of €450 million. At current exchange rates, that works out to about $492.7 million. It is believed to be the most significant development contract received by the company based in Graz.
Magna Steyr currently builds an assortment of vehicles, chief of which is the G-Class it has been assembling since the late 1970s. Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz's long-time partner celebrated a major production milestone when the 500,000th G rolled off the assembly line. Magna is one of the biggest contract manufacturers in the world as it has built 31 different models, amounting to more than four million cars. These days, it's also making the Toyota Supra / BMW Z4, Jaguar's E-Pace and I-Pace, along with the new Fisker Ocean.
Kleine Zeitung says Magna is already working on the pair of EVs for Scout Motors by assigning duties to engineers in Graz and the United States. When contacted by Automotive News Europe, a spokesperson for Magna in Europe declined to provide a statement about the Austrian newspaper's report published on November 23.
The tie-up doesn't come as a big surprise considering Automobilwoche wrote a year ago about how VW could outsource production to Magna (or to Foxconn). VW ultimately decided to go solo in terms of assembly but it looks as though Magna is lending them a helping hand with development. Production of the two new models is slated to commence by late 2026 at the SC plant where annual capacity will exceed 200,000 units.
Spanning 1,100 acres (445 hectares), the future factory will be positioned within a larger site covering approximately 1,600 acres (647 hectares) where more than 4,000 permanent jobs will be created. The vehicles will ride on a dedicated EV platform set to deliver "credible capability and off-road prowess" according to a vague statement made a while ago by Scout Motors.
As to how the VW Group got its hands on the "Scout" name, the German automotive conglomerate bought US commercial vehicle manufacturer Navistar in late 2020. Founded in 1986, Navistar came to be as a direct successor to the International Harvester company, which had the rights to the "Scout" moniker.
There's already a juicy rumor that Audi might adapt this architecture for a luxury off-roader to fight the recently teased Mercedes EQG. The electric G-Class will also be made by Magna.