The governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, signed legislation on Monday to approve $1.29 billion in state incentives for Scout Motors, an off-road brand owned by Volkswagen. Scout is poised to build a $2 billion manufacturing plant for the production of trucks and SUVs in South Carolina.
South Carolina Commerce Secretary Harry Lightsey has also stated that the project may be eligible for up to $180 million in job development tax credits based on hiring.
Scout Motors seeks to create about 4,000 jobs and produce about 200,000 Scout vehicles annually. The groundbreaking of the planned South Carolina plant is expected to take place in mid-2023, and vehicle production is anticipated to begin by the end of 2026, as noted in a Reuters report.
Scout CEO Scott Keogh noted that the brand had initiated an extensive search for the site of its US plant. “We looked at 74 sites in a dozen states, roughly. The site was ready, the governor himself put together an EV council … to make sure his state was ready,” Keogh said, also noting that Scout wants to act “like a startup.”
Volkswagen announced its plan to reintroduce the Scout off-road brand in the United States back in May. The brand is expected to come up with a new electric pickup and SUV. Scout intends to adopt an aggressive strategy in the United States, with the brand noting that its first vehicle would be a $40,000 truck. The vehicle will be made independent of Volkswagen’s MEB platform.
Pickup trucks and SUVs are extremely popular in the United States. Volkswagen, for its part, has focused largely on SUVs. Today, about 80% of Volkswagen’s VW and Audi brands’ sales are SUVs, but the company has no vehicle that competes in the US’ pickup truck segment. Scout’s upcoming all-electric pickup truck could then be what the veteran automaker needs to ensure that it gets a piece of the electric truck market that’s emerging in the United States today.
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