Scout's New $2 Billion South Carolina Factory Site Chosen For All The Right Reasons

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The new EV off-road brand investigated 74 potential sites throughout the US.

Scout Motors CEO Scott Keogh told Automotive News that the new all-electric off-road brand chose the site 20 miles north of Columbia, South Carolina, for its upcoming $2 billion factory because it was "ready to go," beating out 74 other potential sites scattered across the US.

"We looked at 74 sites in, I don't know, a dozen states, roughly. We looked at a lot of states to the north, and we looked at a lot of states to the south, and we looked at a few states to the west, so we have a good feel of what's going on in America with 74 sites," Keogh said.

The plan is to begin producing vehicles in late 2026, and South Carolina state authorities offered the new VW-owned brand an offer it couldn't refuse. Instead of waiting for the usual 12 to 18 months of negotiations and other preparations with state officials, the South Carolina site in Blythewood "took just 60 days" to finalize.

Upon completion, the factory will have a 200,000-vehicle annual capacity. Scout is aiming to break ground later this year.

Scout Motors
Scout Motors

The first Scout model will debut in spring 2024, and we already know it won't utilize VW's MEB architecture that underpins several EVs, including the ID.4 and ID. Buzz. However, Scout vehicles might still take advantage of other VW Group parts bin components. Equally important, they won't all be retro-styled SUVs and trucks in the spirit of the iconic International Scout II.

"The concept is to take some of those core things but bring them into the 21st century. We wanted to make sure we kept the integrity and the romance of the Scout II. We think we have something cool."

Future Scout SUVs are expected to directly target the likes of the Rivian R1T and R1S but, hopefully, at far lower price points. Keogh declined to comment regarding how Scout intends to sell or service its vehicles. Direct sales are unlikely because it would violate franchise laws in several states, but we wouldn't be surprised to see an online sales model that works in coordination with dealerships.

Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen AG
Scout Motors

South Carolina is quickly becoming a popular destination for automotive factories. BMW's massive Spartanburg plant, home to the brand's immensely popular SUVs, has been in operation since 1994. Volvo began manufacturing operations there in 2018.

The state aggressively pursued Scout with a $400 million grant, $650 million in additional funding for local infrastructure upgrades, a $25 million training center, and a $200 million loan for soil stabilization. The offer was too good to pass up. It's also important to know that Scout will not directly compete with the flagship Volkswagen brand. Because Scouts will be assembled in the USA, likely using locally sourced battery components, its cars will receive the maximum tax credit from the government.

Volkswagen AG
Scout Motors

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