VW Could Revive an Iconic Off-Road Name to Battle the Bronco and Wrangler

Picture a more affordable version of Rivian.

1979 harvester scout given new high tech life
Barcroft MediaGetty Images

These are good days for fans of classic off-road badges. Ford resurrected the Bronco. Land Rover brought back the Defender. And now, it seems another iconic SUV nameplate from the 1960s and 1970s could be poised to join them in the intermediate future — as an electric car. Motor Trend is reporting that Volkswagen may revive the International Harvester Scout as an EV off-roader — and it would start a price point where it could rival both the Jeep Wrangler and the Bronco.

Volkswagen can use the name if they want; as it turns out, VW's truck subsidiary Traton just merged with Navstar, the company that holds the trademark for "Scout." And VW deploying that name is not just an intriguing hypothetical. There's some meat behind it.

Per Motor Trend, Volkswagen Group of America COO Johan De Nysschen recently floated the idea of an electric off-roader named the Scout to media members. He was picturing the Scout resembling the Rivian R1S SUV, but at a more affordable $40,000 base price point rather than $70,000 — placing it pretty squarely against the likes of the Bronco and Jeep Wrangler.

Such a Scout would likely run on a modified version of the MEB platform with a boxier body style than the ID.4. Motor Trend suggests that VW could build "Scout" into its own sub-brand rather than try to launch, say, the VW Scout. The idea is in the conception stage — Traton and Navastar just completed their merger in July — but one of the virtues of a shared platform like the MEB is supposed to be launching different vehicle variants with relative ease.

More than 70 percent of VW sales in the U.S. are now SUVs. What they are missing — apologies to the reasonably capable Atlas crossover — is a proper off-roader. We've seen VW exploring off-roading space stylistically with the Atlas Basecamp concept and technically with the Beach Buggy and the AI:Trail concept. The Scout branding could lend VW heritage and gravitas to better launch itself into that very lucrative (but also competitive) automotive segment.

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