Nearly 65 years ago, International Harvester’s manager of engineering told his staff to “design something that would replace the horse.”
‘A Whole New Idea’
The company had been building trucks and pickups since 1907 and introduced the Travelall, a truck-based station wagon in 1953.
But now International Harvester had set its sights on a competitor for the two-door Jeep CJ 4×4 and in late 1960 the Scout 80 made its debut.
Earlier advertising billed the Scout as “a whole new idea in low cost transportation” and the vehicle is considered the forerunner of the SUV.
The Scout and second-generation Scout II were produced as two-door trucks with a removable hard top with options of a full-length roof, half-cab pickup, or soft top.
Production of the Scout ended in 1980, International Harvester is now known as Navistar International Corp. and is a part of the Traton Group, a subsidiary of Volkswagen (VWAGY) – Get Volkswagen AG Report.
And now the German vehicle maker is going to introduce an electrified version of the Scout.
‘An Historic Opportunity’
The company said it will launch an all-electric pick-up and SUV in the US following a decision by the Volkswagen board.
“Electrification provides a historic opportunity to now enter the highly attractive pick-up and R-SUV segment as a Group, underscoring our ambition to become a relevant player in the US market,” CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement.
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The first prototypes are to be unveiled next year, and production is scheduled to start in 2026.
Chief Financial Officer Arno Antlitz said Volkswagen will establish a separate unit brand within the company that will be independently managed.
The company said success in the R-SUV and pick-up segments “is a key lever to increasing profitability in the US and achieving the targeted market share of 10%.”
Revenue in the large SUV market is projected to reach $148.60 billion this year.
Tesla with the Cybertruck and Model Y and Model X, Rivian (RIVN) – Get Rivian Automotive, Inc. Class A Report with the R1T and R1S, Ford (F) – Get Ford Motor Company Report with the F-150 Lightning and the Ford Mustang Mach-E and GM (GM) – Get General Motors Company Report with the GMC EV Hummer and the Chevrolet Silverado pickup EV are the main players in the American market for electric SUVs and pickups.
Volkswagen plans to initially invest more than $1 billion to ready the project and then seek additional financing from outside investors to enter production, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Last year, the company said it wants half of its vehicle sales to be electrified by 2030 and by 2040, Volkswagen said almost 100% of its new vehicles in major markets should be zero-emission vehicles.
Diess recently said that he believes that the maker of the iconic Beetle could pull ahead of Elon Musk’s Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report and become the world’s largest seller of electric vehicles by 2025.
Reaction on social media was varied, with one person tweeting “Welcome Scout!!”
“Damn,” one person tweeted. “Wish they would just resurrect the originals. My dad had one when I was a kid and that thing was an off road beast.”
“VW seems to act on a lot of things, Tesla already does or plans (Cybertruck) and ID.5 (Model Y),” another commenter said. “Sounds like they are very afraid Tesla will dominate one market segment, therefore they want to compete as fast as possible.”
one person posted an image of a Scout with the caption reading “Now THIS is an EV I’d buy. As long as it doesn’t look like the ID. Buzz,” a reference to Volkswagen’s electrified version of the automaker’s Microbus.