Volkswagen made big headlines recently when it unexpectedly announced it would be reviving the Scout, the long-lost American truck. In 2021, Volkswagen acquired the Scout brand name and then, just a couple of weeks ago, decided to announce its revival as an EV truck and SUV maker. The Scout brand will be its own, under the Volkswagen Group umbrella and U.S. Volkswagen dealerships are unhappy about the uncertainty surrounding its distribution. While Volkswagen hasn't provided any official retail distribution plan, its recent answers are worrying dealers.
"Everything that I know has been reported and you have reported it," VW Group North America CEO Scott Keogh told Automotive News on Friday. "First and foremost, Scout is and always was a unique and distinctly American brand — big-time Americana — so it won't be operated through the Volkswagen brand. In fact, it won't be operated through Volkswagen Group of America. It will be operated independently."
That sounds a lot like VW wants to sell Scout at its own dealerships, much like Audi and Porsche. However, due to Keogh's lack of clarity surrounding Scout's revival and distribution, Volkswagen dealerships are unhappy.
According to Automotive News, NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) CEO Mike Stanton issued a letter to Keogh, asking him to "quickly and clearly communicate Scout's distribution plan to your dealers who have made significant investments to support VW's business model and transformation to electrification."
Volkswagen dealers want the opportunity to also become Scout dealers and feel they've shown enough loyalty to Volkswagen to deserve it, having been put through a lot in recent years, such as the infamous diesel-gate and recently investing in electrification. North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association President Robert Glaser feels that "the underlying reason VW is planning to create a parallel [Scout] dealer network is VW's intention to reduce the VW dealer count."
Glaser isn't alone, as several other dealership association heads recently echoed similar statements. "As a company that promotes the value of partnership, the Scout line belongs with the VW dealers," said Texas Automobile Dealers Association President Darren Whitehurst.
Of course, this is all subject to change, as Scout is barely even a brand at this point, it's just a name with a concept sketch. There are no employees, no office, and no official car in the works. It's just a promise of nostalgia and a revival of some classic Americana. Earlier in the week, VW Group CEO Herbert Diess claimed that a site for the multibillion-dollar manufacturing plant would be chosen in the U.S. by the end of the year but that's about all that's officially been said. But while Volkswagen hasn't completely ruled out letting VW dealerships sell Scout models, that doesn't seem to be the direction that the Germans are headed.
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