Volkswagen Group-backed Scout Motors has picked Columbia, South Carolina as the site of its first manufacturing plant.

The company will invest $2 billion and create 4,000 or more permanent jobs at the future factory, where it will build next-generation electric trucks and rugged SUVs inspired by the iconic Scout vehicles made from 1960 to 1980.

At full capacity, the facility will produce more than 200,000 Scout vehicles per year, the automaker said in a press release. Groundbreaking is planned for mid-2023 and production is projected to begin by the end of 2026.

The site spans approximately 1,600 acres (647 hectares), including 1,100 acres (445 hectares) occupied by the plant itself. The location is described by the automaker as "strategic," bordering the I-77 and Blythewood Road, and being less than 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Columbia.

It's also near major cities and talent hubs such as Charleston, Charlotte, Greenville, and Atlanta.

Gallery: Scout Motors future production site in Columbia, South Carolina

According to Scout, this proximity gives it unrivaled access to major highways, ports of Charleston and Savannah, and universities focused on automotive engineering.

"We're honored to partner with South Carolina to usher in this new era for Scout. Scout has been an American icon since introducing an SUV in 1960. It's the vehicle that took your family on a camping trip, that gave access to the great outdoors, and that showed up on the job site every morning. Today, we're reimagining Scout's original ingenuity and electrifying its future. We're bringing the Scout spirit to South Carolina and it's going to be a hell of a ride."

Scott Keogh, President and CEO of Scout Motors

Scout will build its electric trucks and SUVs on a newly designed all-electric platform that will deliver "credible capability and off-road prowess." Internal engineering will focus on attributes such as ground clearance, approach angles, robust axles, payload capacity, all-electric range, and new digital features – all while honoring the brand heritage.

South Carolina is home to over 500 automotive-related companies and 75,000 automotive industry employees. It's also No. 1 in the US for export sales of both completed passenger vehicles and tires.

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