Wolfsburg’s Über-VW, the Phaeton, will be produced in China. At least if the Chinese car site Auto.163 is correct. The news is coming to you via Chinacartimes, which doubts the article’s veracity, not only because the logic behind Auto.163’s reasoning is a bit backwards. Is it really?Says Chinacartimes:
“Auto.163 are citing VW’s new DSG gearbox factory in Tianjin as the source for its Chinese Phaeton rumors. The new gearbox factory will produce the DQ380 and DQ500 gearboxes which are only used in the flagship vehicle. Does this mean the Phaeton will be produced in China? Probably not. Does it mean that the gearbox will likely be exported? Probably yes.”
The Phaeton became infamous in the U.S. for being a dud. It was pulled off the U.S. market in 2006, despite the efforts of Jack Baruth to prop up its market share by buying two. That spike in the U.S. Phaeton sales, that was Jack.
The Phaeton currently goes through its second spring. Last year, 11.000 were sold, 50 percent more than in the already surprisingly good 2010. Moving the production of the Phaeton to China would make sense. “Asia is its most important market,” said a Volkswagen spokesman. “70 percent of the vehicles go to the Far East.”
China is the Phaeton’s largest market also because the Phaeton is a great way around some company or government purchasing rules. The buyer can claim with a straight face that “it’s a Volkswagen.”
“The Phaeton is priced from an affordable 758,800 RMB to 2.53 million in the Chinese market,” says Chinacartimes. That’s between $120,000 and $400,000. Should it be produced in China, the price could come down a bit because the 25 percent import tax is avoided. But then, once you are in that stratosphere, a few dollars less don’t really count. Also, Volkswagen could close the Phaeton’s factory in Dresden if most of them are made in Shanghai.