Scout Motors CEO Scott Keogh confirms Magna Steyr as engineering partner, and Reuters reports Volkswagen is cutting 20 percent of its administrative staff costs.
This is AM Drive, Motor1's daily look at the news you need before you get in your car.
Scout Motors Working With Magna Steyr To Develop New Body-On-Frame Platform
At the end of November, Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung wrote about Magna Steyr's potential involvement in the development of a new platform for Scout Motors. The newly founded EV brand has now confirmed the Graz-based company is helping with the engineering of an architecture that will underpin an SUV and a pickup truck. Scout Motors CEO told Automotive News the two firms are working on a "100 percent capable, American, robust, full platform."
Scott Keogh refuted rumors about modifying the MEB architecture for off-road duties, saying the two models will utilize a "completely unique platform – ground up being engineered and developed." The hardware might not be exclusive to Scout Motors as the CEO didn't exclude the possibility of a VW-badged model using the same underpinnings.
The design of the SUV is nearly finished, with Keogh telling Automotive News it's "85, 90, 95 percent of the way there." He went on to say the exterior design and the proportions of the model have been locked in. The large SUV is being developed primarily with the United States in mind and will be the first to go on sale. The fullsize truck, also US-focused, will follow 6-7 months later, according to the CEO.
Production is earmarked for late 2026 at a new $2-billion assembly plant in Blythewood, South Carolina. Magna Steyr will not be involved in the assembly of the two EVs. We won't have to wait until then to see the SUV because the official premiere will happen in the third quarter of 2024. Meanwhile, test mules will hit the street in the following months.
Volkswagen To Reduce Staff Administrative Costs By 20 Percent
Reuters got hold of a VW internal memo notifying employees of an upcoming cost-cutting decision. As part of a wider array of measures meant to reduce expenditures by €10 billion ($10.7B) by 2026, the German automaker wants to reduce administrative staff costs by a fifth. VW brand CEO Thomas Schaefer is quoted saying:
"What is crystal clear is that we will need to operate with fewer people in many areas at Volkswagen in the future. This doesn't mean more work for fewer people, but rather shedding old habits and saying no to duplicating efforts and inefficiencies."
In the same memo, VW informed its staff it won't build a new research and development facility in Wolfsburg anymore, therefore saving €800 million ($862M). Other goals include shortening production times and lowering a product’s life cycle from 50 months to only 36. As previously reported, Schaefer has admitted that VW is "no longer competitive" and that partial and early retirements are planned to further drive down costs.