When Volkswagen introduced the Phaeton luxury sedan to the US market in 2004, onlookers were left scratching their heads. Who did Volkswagen think they were trying to sell an $85,000 car to compete with Mercedes-Benz? Apparently, most of the car-buying public felt the same way. After only two years of decidedly uninspiring sales, the Phaeton was dropped from the US lineup. During a speech at the Automotive News World Congress, VW of America CEO Stefan Jacoby said that he didn't think the Phaeton should have been discontinued here and opened the door for its return.
If it does happen (and that is a very big if) it would probably be the next-generation Phaeton that comes here. According to VW spokesman Keith Price, if the Phaeton reappears in American VW stores, it would be the short-wheelbase model and it would likely have the 3.0L TDI V6 underhood. However, Keith made it very clear that any discussion of the Phaeton's return is purely speculative. The problem the first time around was a reluctance to consider a "people's car" at such a high price point. Perhaps what the company needs is something unique enough that people will look beyond that. How about a Phaeton with the same V12 TDI that appeared in the R8 concept last month in Detroit? That would make for a very interesting alternative to the Lexus LS600h, don't you think?
[Sources: Automotive News, Volkswagen]