A few weeks ago, Volkswagen announced the creation of a new brand focused on off-road vehicles. The idea of an all-electric Scout sub-brand has generated a lot of buzz throughout the industry, not least among EV and VW fans, as well as fans of the name.
If all goes according to plan, the creation of the Scout marque will be made official later this year, and within two years, we should see the first concepts appear. The company's first model could hit the market by 2026.
While many are very excited about the idea, there is also some concern, particularly among dealerships. According to Automotive News, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and several state associations have contacted Volkswagen's U.S. division to find out how the new brand will be marketed in the U.S. The dealer associations would like a guarantee that the marketing strategy won’t run afoul of state franchise laws.
When Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess announced the new brand, he said Scout would be established as a “separate and independent company”" and operate as an autonomous business entity, distinct from the main Volkswagen brand. He did not, however, explain how the planned models, so far an SUV and a pickup truck, would be distributed. Volkswagen America CEO Scott Keogh, decided to communicate Scout's distribution plan quickly and clearly to “dealers who have made significant investments to support VW's business model and transformation to electrification.”
It turns out ‘clearly’ maybe wasn’t so clear. Several dealer associations wrote to Keogh asking just how the Scout brand would be distributed in the United States. According to Automotive News, all wanted to know if the new brand would be sold directly to consumers or be a franchise within the existing Volkswagen dealer network.
As of now, Volkswagen says it’s not ready to share more details regarding its retail plans for the Scout brand, but it does promise to “share more news as it becomes available”.
Dealers here in Canada will surely want some answers at some point as well. New products coming to a group is always an interesting prospect, as long as they are distributed easily and aren’t in competition with existing models and brands within the group.