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New EV Maker Scout Motors Breaks Ground on $2 Billion Plant

by | February 16, 2024

The stagnation of electric vehicle sales isn’t slowing the charge of automakers into the market. Scout Motors, Volkswagen’s U.S. EV subsidiary, broke ground on its $2 billion plant in South Carolina. The company expects vehicles to begin rolling off the line there in 2026.

Scout SUVs at groundbreaking

New EV maker Scout Motors brought a little of its past to the groundbreaking event for its future.

With its ceremony in Blythewood, South Carolina, Scout became the latest company to set up shop in the southeastern U.S. to build electric vehicles. Hyundai’s in the midst of construction just outside Savannah, Georgia while Kia, Rivian, VinFast, Toyota, BMW, Ford and a slew of suppliers are investing billions in other electric vehicle or battery facilities in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee.

VW revealed its plans to revive the Scout brand in May 2022, appointing Keogh, who was in charge of Volkswagen’s U.S. unit, to get it off the ground. The goal was to create a North American-focused EV brand. The German automaker produces one EV in the U.S. currently, the ID.4, which is built at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

It is projected that production of Scout vehicles, which will comprise an electric pickup and SUV, will begin by the end of 2026. In the U.S., Volkswagen intends to sell 250,000 Scout cars annually.

The new plant

Scout Motors groundbreaking crowd

Scout CEO Keogh said the event represented the company’s effort to become an integral part of the community.

“Today is less about construction and a building and more about a calling and a community,” said Scout Motors President and CEO Scott Keogh at the event. “We’re here to celebrate the revitalization of an American icon and the reshoring of American jobs. On this land — with our hands and with our technology — we will build great vehicles.”

The groundbreaking ceremony honored Scout’s hardworking heritage while celebrating the company’s future plans and growth. The event featured several original Scout vehicles and members of the Scout community as well as a 3D model of the Production Center and virtual content that brought the future factory to life.

The site spans approximately 1,600 acres, with the plant itself occupying 1,100 acres, less than 20 miles north of Columbia. It gives the plant easy access to major highways and the ports of Charleston and Savannah, which are two and three hours away respectively.

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The vehicles

Keogh with tool kit at Scout groundbreaking

Keogh marks the event for the plant that is projected to produce 250,000 EVs annually.

The new company will produce two vehicles at the start: an SUV and a pickup. VW’s contracted Magna Steyr to help develop the new offerings. The company specializes in the development and production of lower volume vehicles at its plant in Graz, Austria as well as consulting on higher volume production at the plants of other automakers.

In addition to helping design the Ineos Grenadier SUV, the business currently assembles the G-Class for Mercedes-Benz in Graz, Austria. It is also helping Fisker Automotive with production of its first EV, the Ocean.

No performance specs have been finalized, but the vehicles will bear some resemblance to the Scout brand utility vehicle from the 1960s.

International Harvester originally used the Scout moniker for its 1961 International Scout SUV, which was a rival vehicle to the Jeep CJ and Ford Bronco. The International Scout was sold through 1980.

After International underwent a corporate reorganization in 1986, its highway tractors carried on under the new name Navistar. In 2020, the Scout moniker was acquired by Volkswagen Group when it paid $3.7 billion to acquire Navistar International through its heavy-truck division Traton.


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