By on August 30, 2012

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.

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11 Comments on “Made-In-China Phaeton? Um Himmelswillen!...”

  • avatar

    Shutting down Phaeton production in Dresden would either mean exporting Chinese Phaetons to Western Europe (and possibly North America for the next generation), or discontinuing it in those markets. Using Phaeton as the first Chinese-built global VW seems a bit unlikely.

    As for Dresden … if they really did stop Phaeton (and Bentley?) production there, VW could probably use the factory for another model, they really don’t have the FIAT/PSA/GM problem with overcapacity.

  • avatar

    Uhm, thanks for the video. No idea what is being said on the voice-over, but it is done with great feeling – by a guy who paid attention during his elocution lessons.

    • 0 avatar

      I have *almost* no idea what is being said on the voice-over — except I’m fairly sure that the phrase “fua mou shen”, about 40 seconds in, is spelled “4MOTION” in VW marketing lingo.

  • avatar

    Doesn’t make sense technically:

    “The new gearbox factory will produce the DQ380 and DQ500 gearboxes which are only used in the flagship vehicle.”

    So far, the Phaeton uses longitudinally installed engines, and both cited gearboxes are transversally mounted (hence DQ = Doppelkupplung Quer). If the Phaeton successor goes on a Passat basis, those DQs would be fine, but in that case the largest possible engine would be a five-cylinder (or the dying VR6) (which might be sufficient for most Chinese though, but then this car is without V6 Diesels and thus out of Europe and anyplace outside China) (which in fact is the current status).

    • 0 avatar

      A good point — looks like those are for the Tiguan, Golf and Audi Q3, according to chinautoweb in June:

      “The Tianjin plant, scheduled to open in 2014, will mainly produce the DQ380 and DQ500. Design capacity for each is 450,000 units a year. The DQ500, currently made only in Germany, will be employed by Tiguan SUVs from Shanghai Volkswagen, while the DQ380, derived from the DQ500, will be used on models like Audi Q3 and Golf GTI. Volkswagen plans to spend 927 million euros on the plant.”

    • 0 avatar

      If the RV6 fits transversely, then shouldn’t the W12 too?

      • 0 avatar


      • 0 avatar

        Why not? It’s no longer; it’s just a V-engine where each bank is an RV6.

        And it’s no wider than the W8, which is in the same way a V of two RV4s, and which was used in the Passat. (Or was that one of those phases when the Passat had longitudinal engines?)

        Either way, one would think the main limitation would be engine length… So why “Nope”?

      • 0 avatar

        Right, the W12 might be almost the same length as the RV6 (or VR6 for us Europeans), and right, it might also be as slim as the W8 that used to be installed transversally in an almost single digit number of Passats decades ago (I had to look that up too since back then the VW group engine strategy was total chaos).
        But for a transversally mounted W12, even if it fits squeezed in with a shoehorn, there would be no adequate transmission as the DQ500 survives something like 550Nm and the W12 comes with 600Nm at least. Plus, the weight balance would be disastrous with something like 600 pounds in front of the front axle.
        In fact, there once was a Golf W12 at the 2007 Wörthersee GTI meeting, but even that engine was mounted as a mid-engine and not transversally up front.
        So at last, it’s theoretically doable to use a W12 in a future MQB vehicle, and even if not, probably the Chinese wouldn’t mind four-cylinder engines in a top-of-the-range Phaeton successor, but given the fact that they’re gonna make MLB and MSB vehicles in the same group, it’s ten times more likely that next Phaeton will use one of those platforms and they’ll try to sell it outside of China again.

      • 0 avatar


        Thanks a lot, KuyaFab!

  • avatar

    So the made in China Phaeton will be more or less reliable than the one that was made in Deutschland?

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