VW’s Scout Motors selects Magna as 'engineering partner' for off-road EVs

VW’s Scout Motors selects Magna as 'engineering partner' for off-road EVs

German multinational automotive manufacturer Volkswagen Group’s ambitious foray into the US electric SUV market through Scout Motors is all set to get a big boost, thanks to its collaboration with renowned contract auto manufacturer Magna International.

Scott Keogh, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of Volkswagen Group of America and chief of the Volkswagen brand in North America, unveiled the partnership with Magna as for producing off-road EVs. Keogh acknowledged Magna's instrumental role in kickstarting the project but asserted that Scout’s engineers have taken the helm in steering the project’s direction.

Magna International, known for its proficiency in crafting body-on-frame off-road vehicles, including electric car, initially supported the project's early stages. Now, it is responsible for developing models like the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Jaguar I-Pace, and Fisker Ocean e-SUVs. It is worth-noting here that Magna's involvement played a crucial role in getting the project off the ground. However, Scout Motors will now lead the charge and driving the project's evolution.

In spite of reports suggesting a substantial investment by Volkswagen Group in Magna for Scout Motors’ development, the top executive clarified that Magna's role wouldn’t extend to the production phase of Scout's EVs. Instead, Scout Motors will likely establish its own production facility in the Blythewood area of South Carolina, aiming to commence operations sometime in 2026.

The German automaker’s limited expertise in body-on-frame vehicles, which is largely centered around the first-generation Amarok, prompted it to sign the partnership deal with an external partner. In other words, the automobile giant entered the partnership to bolster engineering support and guarantee the platform's efficacy.

Acknowledging the fact that Canadian company was very helpful at the start of the project to get things moving, CEO Keogh described the collaboration with Magna as a "good, efficient way to get the car to market on time." Speaking on the topic, he added, “But now Scout engineers are in the lead. We’re driving it.”

Highlighting a clearly American-centric design philosophy, Keogh stressed that Scout vehicles are precisely tailored for the U.S. market, differing significantly from the typical European adjustments made by the company for the U.S. market. Addressing speculations regarding the origin of the EV platform, he categorically stressed its complete departure from the brand’s innovative MEB architecture.

The seasoned executive also confirmed that Scout Motors remains on schedule for the complete official unveiling of its body-on-frame e-SUV in the third quarter (Q3) of 2024, with series production scheduled to commence by late 2026, closely followed by the pickup truck variant.

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