Scout picked S.C. because of speed, says CEO Scott Keogh

Scout Motors chose a greenfield site just north of Columbia, S.C., for a new $2 billion factory over a number of other sites across the U.S. in part because it — and an accompanying $1.3 billion package of incentives — was “ready to go,” according to Scout CEO Scott Keogh.

Gov. Henry McMaster signed the incentive package into law Monday. It includes a $400 million grant to Scout Motors “for hard assets as determined by the company,” local media reported, citing the state’s Department of Commerce. It also includes funding for $650 million in local infrastructure improvements, a $25 million training facility and a $200 million loan for soil stabilization.

Speaking to reporters in a video conference call Monday, Keogh said the Volkswagen Group-owned brand looked at 74 sites in the South, Midwest and Western for the factory, which will produce Scout SUVs and pickups, beginning in 2026. But the process to land on the site in Blythewood “took just 60 days” instead of 12 to 18 months of negotiations and preparations. The factory will have a capacity of 200,000 vehicles.

In response to a question from Automotive News, Keogh said any announcement on how Scout would sell or repair its vehicles in the U.S. is forthcoming.

As for choosing South Carolina, “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 state had the available infrastructure, a sufficient local population from which to draw the plant’s estimated 4,000 workers and an existing supply base from other automakers that have been in the state for decades, Keogh said.

“This was the best play based on the 74 sites, full stop,” Keogh said.

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