Volkswagen US dealers have been caught off guard by the automaker's plans to revive the Scout nameplate for an electric pickup and SUV.
Since Volkswagen Group did not offer details on how it intends to retail the new EVs, dealers are wondering whether the automaker might be looking to adopt Tesla's direct-sales model for Scout vehicles or set up new franchises that would bypass them.
VW Group did say it would build a "separate, independent company" to resurrect the Scout name, which it acquired last year after purchasing truck maker Navistar. The first prototypes are expected to debut next year with production to follow in 2026. The company did not offer any information regarding the production location of the new Scout electric vehicles.
The lack of information from Wolfsburg has left some VW dealers angry and shocked, Automotive News reports. One dealer told the publication, on condition of anonymity, that they felt VW might go with direct sales for the Scout brand.
"If we were going to have any involvement, they would have told us something. But they haven't said a word to us, either before or after the announcement."
On May 13, VW of America sales and marketing boss Andrew Savvas told the brand's 650 dealers in a letter that Scout will be an independent brand within the group and that they will have no claim on its products. The letter obviously did not do much to calm dealers down.
VW Group CFO Arno Antlitz said that Scout "will be a separate unit and brand within the Volkswagen Group to be managed independently. This aligns with the new group steering model—small units that act agilely and have access to our tech platforms to leverage synergies." No executives for the new unit and brand have been announced.
VW Group CEO Herbert Diess believes that the automaker can reach 10% market share across all of its brands in the US and wants that done by the end of the decade. Pickups are key for any automaker wishing to increase sales in the country as they represent about 15% of the overall US market.
According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the plans last week, VW is targeting 250,000 sales per year from the Scout pickup and SUV, which should start at around $40,000.