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Scout name makes a comeback as electric pickup, SUV

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In surprising news, the Scout name is making a comeback and will be offered as an off-road SUV once again! Here is what we know.

The news was announced to dealers this week, and it was confirmed by the (wait for it) Volkswagen group. VW said it will launch a U.S.-based Scout sub-brand, which will feature an all-new, “rugged” electric pickup and SUV built on a new platform — unlike anything else in its lineup, per Automotive News.

This new “separate, independent” company will resurrect the Scout name, which VW acquired last year after purchasing Navistar.

The plan is to show its first prototypes next year and start production in 2026. No other details are available.

What was the Scout?

For those without a few gray hairs, you might not recall the name Scout. It belonged to off-road-focused SUVs and pickups built by International Harvester from 1961 to 1980.

It was primarily built as a Jeep competitor and offered a fold-down windshield, and the second-generation Scout II trucks were two-door vehicles with a removable hard top and options for a full-length roof, half-cab pickup or a soft top.

For the design, imagine a Ford Bronco look with Wrangler versatility.

These fun, off-road vehicles were used for exploring the outdoors, camping to off-road racing. There were Scout-based minivans, station wagons, dune buggies and even a small motorhome.

Then, in 1980, the Scout was gone. International Harvester had a big strike from 1979-80, and the lack of funds for the company closed the door on building the Scout product line, and the name languished for decades until VW decided to do something with it.

On a more personal note, we have a Scout in our family, and it was used throughout the snowy Wyoming winters to get back and forth to the rural farm. They are still a prized SUV with its body-on-frame, off-road design and a more unique style than the myriad of Jeeps running around the trails.

The bottom line 

While this will likely be a small-batch run of Scout EV SUVs and pickups, it will be fun to see the old Scout name return. And maybe this time, the name will stick around and grow into many different versions.

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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