© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen logo is pictured at the 2022 New York International Auto Show, in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., April 13, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid


By David Shepardson

(Reuters) -Volkswagen Group AG said its top North American executive would run its new U.S. company Scout that will build electric pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Scott Keogh, who is president and CEO of Volkswagen (ETR:) Group of America, has been named chief executive of Scout, an independent company. Pablo Di Si, executive chairman of the Volkswagen South American region, will become head of Volkswagen Group of America, and CEO of the Volkswagen North American region. Both changes are effective Sept. 1.

Keogh, who previously headed the Audi brand in the United States, has been VW of America head since 2018.

In May, VW said it planned to reintroduce the Scout off-road brand in the United States offering new EVs.

The German carmaker plans to invest around 100 million euros ($102 million) in the new Scout brand, two people briefed on the matter told Reuters.

VW said in May it would create a separate, independent company to build Scout trucks and SUVs starting in 2026, that will be designed, engineered, and manufactured in the United States for U.S. customers.

Sources told Reuters VW could potentially seek external funding through investors or an initial public offering to expand its production capabilities.

VW last sold a pickup in the United States in the early 1980s. The company said the new Scout company was a key part of its goal of reaching 10% market share in the United States.

Volkswagen has moved away from cars in the United States as it adds more electric models. SUVs now account for about 75% of the U.S. sales of the group’s VW and Audi brands, which represent about 4% of U.S. auto industry sales. U.S. sales of the two brands were down about 30% in the first quarter.

Scout and Travelall vehicles made by International Harvester were forerunners in both function and style of popular SUVs from the Detroit Three automakers, such as the Ford Bronco and General Motors’ Chevrolet Suburban.

Harvester stopped building the Scout and Travelall in 1980 after the oil price shocks of the mid-1970s as it went through a restructuring. The automaker’s Traton SE business acquired U.S. truck maker Navistar (NYSE:) in 2020, which owns the Scout name.

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