• Apr 23, 2007

Volkswagen's Phaeton could not exactly be described as a run-away success. The German carmaker planned to make a modest 20,000 units, but only managed to sell a quarter that amount. But someone in Wolfsburg must have gotten an "if at first you don't succeed" fortune cookie, and they're determined to give it another shot.

The next Phaeton, as we've reported previously, will save considerably on development costs by sharing its underpinnings with the next A6 from corporate cousin Audi. This, however, is no mere speculation: it comes straight from the mouth of CEO Martin Winterkorn. The end result will be a Phaeton smaller than the one it replaces, bringing costs down and bringing it slightly closer to the top-end Passat to help close the enormous gap in the Volkswagen model line-up.

The current slow-selling Phaeton cost Volkswagen a bundle to develop, but all was not lost as the platform ended up providing the basis for the more successful Bentley Continental range, with its coupe, cabrio and sedan variations. What will happen with the next Continental, you ask? Sources suggest that it will take its underpinnings from the latest Audi A8.

All in all this amounts to a change of direction for the German auto group, which has a history of investing heavily into new models which compete with offerings from their own subsidiaries.

[Source: Motor Authority]



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      No. 15. Making the Phaeton a showy ostentious hey-I-earn-more-than-you saloon car and what do you get? A tasteless affair with enough chrome to blind a man.

      The Phaeton offers something that is becomeing rarer by the minute - understatement.
      • 7 Years Ago
      One car I truly hope succeeds. Amazingly understated which is so refreshing compared with the current look-at-me BMW 5/7 series and American luxury cars.

      The Phaeton kind of reminds me of the old Audi S8 (the one in Ronin - superb film) or the last generation BMW M5 (the best looking saloon car ever?). Pretty quick in W12 guise, over 200mph if the limiters were removed - and yet its a stealth car so people would think you were in a Passat (Jetta in US?).
      • 7 Years Ago
      As an american i think the Phaeton is one of the coolest cars produced in the last 10 years.

      no, its not very nice to look at, it doesnt grab attention, but thats the point... its not supposed to.

      From an engineering standpoint the Phaeton was a work of art. I would take a Phaeton over an A8/S600/760li any day of the week.

      The only thing that comes close (actually surpasses) is the Flying Spur and thats because its largely the same car.

      If anything the Phaetons two problems are that it is ahead of its time, and that its a VW

      If it had been the new A8 or something even higher in the audi lineup, but looked exactly the same as it does i think it would have been a huge success.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Then what you want is a Toyota, except Europe taxes Japanese imports so heavily just so homegrown cars don't get demolished, because if VW had to actually cost compete their market share in Europe would look like their market share in the US.

      BTW, we're not bashing VW for being too flashy. We're bashing them for being unreliable and having electrical issues while simultaneously making moronic business decisions that involve having your budget brand compete against your own luxury brands for no logical reason at all (made all the more idiotic by the fact that the brand name means People's Car). If Toyota suddenly decided to make the Avalon $90,000, I'd call it an idiotic business decision too, since it would make NO FRIGGIN' SENSE WHEN YOU ALREADY HAVE A LUXURY BRAND.

      Oh, and the Phaeton was honestly pretty ugly-it looked like a morbidly obese Passat. I tried to like it (especially since they devalued really badly, and I figured it'd basically be a Bentley on the cheap), but it couldn't really be justified even at an insanely devalued price. If it was unbelievably reliable that would make up for it's ugliness (since people buy old and outdated looking Lexuses), but it's not reliable enough to justify buying for practical reasons either.

      Seriously, they managed to make their current line up aesthetically pleasing, which is good (since it'll get a lot of people to impulse buy the initial purchase), but they REALLY need to work on reliability if they want to get long term resale value up, which is about the only way you'll ever really be able to compete-because your car costs more money to own if it devalues like a piece of crap. And nobody can justify spending 2-3 times the money per month to own a car that's less reliable, especially if it's also obese looking.
      • 7 Years Ago
      @ #15

      VW made this car explicitly for people who DIDN'T want a car that screamed "I'm rich and this car says I'm rich". They built it for people who were thinking more along the lines of "I want a bentley at half the price that will draw 1/100th of the attention".

      And thats exactly how it was built.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I said this to my VW group back in 2002 when the first car was planned. They needed something the size and price of an A6. DUH. Where's my cookie?
      • 7 Years Ago
      They'll continue moving upstream, BUT...without rectifying quality that's among the industry's worst. Sounds like genius to me.

      Further, most companies stop doing what doesn't work...it's called common sense business.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I still don't understand VW's need to badge engineer and essentially poach on Audi's turf. I think the Audi A8 had a great chance to poach BMW 7-series buyers in this last generation, after all, it is so much nicer looking. But diverting engineering resources to the Phaeton seemed to be the exact wrong move.

      Nobody is going to buy a Phaeton over an Audi in their right mind. Except as a second hand car which has already taken the depreciation hit. If they really want to take the luxury market, they should get their reliability up and take some of the nice things from the Phaeton and put them in the Passat. Just keep improving the Passat until it seems ridiculous underpriced. Then do the same for the Jetta.

      At least the Audi R8, which I sort of see as the cut-rate Gallardo, isn't trying to build some reputation from nothing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "6. *sigh*... americans just don't understand...oh well, let them build this car just for us in europe. we don't want ostentatious and showy cars. we want nice cars that are nondescript. something that nobody in the US seems to care about."
      you want overpriced econoboxes? check. by the way, there is this bridge i want to sell you.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Interesting. I bought a 2004 Phaeton after they came out and three years later have just received a nice check from VW buying it back as they have never been able to fix the electrical problems. The car rode and drove well but was an electrical nightmare. Will take delivery of an A8 this afternoon.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I hate to break it to you, but VW engineers the Audi electrical systems as well, so you can either hope that you get crazy lucky and get a weirdly reliable one, or hope you get another super-lemon that's so bad they have to buy it back.

        Best of luck, the A8 is a damned sexy sedan though, but the VW electrical systems are all garbage.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I feel like most of the people posting on here have no idea at all about this car.

      Go on youtube or something and look for the Top Gear review of this car by Jeremy Clarkson.

      Clarkson says he would take one over an XJ8... now thats a statement coming from him.
      • 7 Years Ago
      what idiots, complete morons. Nissan has it right using the skyline as a halo car. Who the f$%^ dreams about an A6 and goes into the showroom too see it. At this point i resign as VAG fan.
    • Load More Comments