Volkswagen knows that its US operations need some help, so it installed Michael Horn as CEO of its American operations a few months ago. In a new interview with Bloomberg, Horn goes into detail about his two-pronged focus for the company – making dealers happier and improving product.

Chief among that product news is confirmation that the Phaeton is going to return to our market in 2018 or 2019, a move VW has long been rumored to be considering. The full-size luxury sedan hasn't been sold in the US since the end of the 2006 model year, departing the market as a victim of slow sales. (The Phaeton has since been slightly updated overseas, where it continues to be offered.)

The complex Phaeton garnered a good amount of critical acclaim in its time on our market, yet it earned mostly perplexed looks from consumers who had trouble understanding the idea of a "People's Car" priced against competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (or the VW Group's own Audi A8, for that matter). It isn't immediately clear how VW intends to exempt the next-generation Phaeton from the same fate when it returns, nor is it clear whether the new model will share its underpinnings with the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, as the first iteration did.

According to the Bloomberg interview, Horn's other main goal is improving VW's dealer relations. He says that right now, dealers are unhappy with the company, and there is a "great distance" between them. The two sides are negotiating now to improve bonuses, marketing and other elements to get the network back on board.

"We need to connect closer from the American market to the German market," said Horn in the interview, and it looks like the company is making the first steps toward that goal. Scroll down to watch the full discussion.


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  • 46 Comments
      Skicat
      • 8 Months Ago
      The answer to a question nobody asked.
      Basil Exposition
      • 8 Months Ago
      Cause it worked out so well for them the last time around.
      express2day
      • 8 Months Ago
      While a nice car, pricing on the Phaeton was just way too close to the Audi A8.
      throwback
      • 8 Months Ago
      Why? Why infringe on Audi's terrirtory?
      Carpinions
      • 8 Months Ago
      I agree with other commenters here: A new Phaeton would be a distraction and would sell at least as bad as the last one. Phaetons are dirt cheap - relatively speaking - to pick up, and that's because the vast majority were the 4.2 V8 version. The car is known for electronics that are absolutely possessed, and while it's a nice ride even now, it's not the kind of thing you'd call day-to-day reliable, let alone being cost-effective to repair. VW needs to focus on what it made its name on, and that emphatically was not overtly trying to be the biggest automaker on Earth, which to me is a short-sighted and short-lived goal once that pinnacle is reached. I like VWs because they are NOT Toyotas, speaking as a former Golf owner. VW's choice to go cheap and mass market with the current Jetta and Passat has only hurt them (at least on the Passat side), and long term their current goals are going to cost them long-time fans, and maybe even bring down their resale values. VW, you need to worry about the Up!, the Polo, the Golf, and a couple crossovers.Nobody will care about the new Phaeton unless it's about $30k less expensive than the last one.
        The Wasp
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Carpinions
        VW made its name on being the people's car -- not as in 'the car everyone wants' but as in 'the car everyone can afford'. I think VW can only make a serious claim at #1 in sales if they change their focus to competitive pricing instead of family sedans, CUVs, and even a luxury sedan with entry-level-luxury pricing. VW clearly realizes that a Touareg is quite a bit more profitable than a true econobox would be, even though the latter is easier to sell in higher volume.
      • 8 Months Ago
      [blocked]
        The Wasp
        • 8 Months Ago
        One of the few segments VW could enter without cannibalizing VW or Audi sales...and yet they remain silent.
      ffelix422
      • 8 Months Ago
      "Why?!"
      The Rookie
      • 8 Months Ago
      What is it's purpose? They already have Audi. Is it going to be like a K900?
      Nick
      • 8 Months Ago
      But will it have the W12?
      JSH
      • 8 Months Ago
      Makes no sense. How about a truck instead?
      marv.shocker
      • 8 Months Ago
      Good idea. After all, the Phaeton did so well the last time it was here. I mean, who doesn't want to pay $100K for a super-sized Passat?
      Brian Rautio
      • 8 Months Ago
      2002 - "The American's like expensive luxury, give them an opulent 80k Phaeton!" 2009 - "That did not work. Take it away and give them a stripped down econobox 14k Jetta!" 2014 - "That did not work. Take it away and give them an opulent 80k Phaeton again!" And they claim they don't understand the American market. Maybe, if they didn't always hit the ends of the spectrum. Its like they're playing ping pong with their brand.
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