VW shopping for U.S. sites for new plant to build Scout EVs

DAVOS, Switzerland — Volkswagen Group plans to decide this year on a site in the U.S. to assemble its Scout brand electric pickups and SUVs, CEO Herbert Diess said on Wednesday.

The company is assessing “brownfield sites and some greenfield locations,” Diess said here on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

VW CFO Arno Antlitz separately said the company is not ruling out an eventual share listing for the Scout brand, but added that it was too soon for such a decision.

Scout is part of a broader effort by VW to expand its presence in the U.S. market, not just for passenger vehicles but commercial vehicles as well, Diess and other executives said.

The plans are generating controversy among VW’s U.S. dealerships because the automaker has not discolsed yet how it plans to sell the vehicles in the U.S. Dealers, through the NADA and state associations, on Wednesday demanded answers from VW brass.

Robert Glaser, president of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, this week said the Scout announcement was “very alarming and puzzling — to the current dealer network,” which had spent years asking for the very products that the Scout announcement included, and with no mention of how they would be sold.