VWoA Chief: Bring Back the Phaeton!

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
vwoa chief bring back the phaeton

Business Week (BW) reports that VW of America's newly anointed boss Stefan Jacoby wants to resurrect the ill-fated Phaeton luxury sedan. The Phaeton was a hugely expensive machine– both in terms of development costs and its $75k to $95k sticker– positioned against BMW and Mercedes. Customers were lined-up none deep. And yet Jacoby insists dropping the Phaeton was a big mistake– that should be corrected. "A world class luxury sedan that doesn't show the luxury all over the place and that could have the only fuel efficient 12-cylinder diesel engine… that's funky." Get down with it 'bro! anyway, fans of the brand who despair that VW will once again be off chasing moonbeams should note that Jacoby is a consummate corporate player (check the anecdote at the end of the BW post). The Phaeton was VW Chairman (now supervisory board chairman) Ferdinand Piech's pride and joy. File this one under lip service and stand by for those small, well-built, frugal cars you've been wanting since Ozzie Osbourne's lead guitarist buzzed him in an airplane– and crashed into a house.

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  • Hal Hal on Sep 10, 2007

    I always wondered why VW didn't introduce an A6 sized sedan rather than the A8 sized Phaeton? The logical thing would be for the next gen Passat to be the same size as the B5 (last generation) - smaller than the current Passat - leaving room for a A6 based Phaeton. If VW are going make a serious assault on the US market they will need a large sedan. - just not something the size of the S Class with a V12 Diesel although I agree that would be funky especially when you used it to haul a 50' trailer.

  • Tech98 Tech98 on Sep 10, 2007
    I always wondered why VW didn’t introduce an A6 sized sedan rather than the A8 sized Phaeton? The story I heard is that VW bigwig Peich was embarrassed at a meeting with the heads of Mercedes and BMW, because they arrived in 'flagship' cars and he couldn't because VW didn't produce one. Presto, massive expensive new VW project to compete with the S-Class and 7-Series. Don't know if it's true, but it fits with what I've read about Peich's massive ego. Arrogant auto execs are not exclusive to Detroit.
  • Willbodine Willbodine on Sep 10, 2007

    He's right. Prosaic brands can cross class barriers IF the product is emotional enough. The first few generations of Ford's Thunderbird (say '55 to '65) sold to a demographic most luxury marques would have killed for. Ditto the original BMC Mini. Personally, I loved the Phaeton and I watch the resale prices freefall on Ebay...one of these days I keep promising myself. One wonders what would have happened if maybe VW had labled it a "Wolfsburg" Phaeton (using that cute Wolfsburg logo from the original Beetle) sort of the way Mercedes named their uber-Benz the Maybach?

  • Cicero Cicero on Sep 10, 2007

    The folks at GM could learn a thing or two from this Jacoby guy about the black art of completely screwing up a once-coherent brand.