By on January 26, 2011

The recession must have come to a sudden end.  Volkswagen can’t make enough Phaetons to meet demand. Last year, Volkswagen sold 7,000 of the facelifted Über-VW. This year, all indicators say “mehr.” You probably suspect who’s buying most of those Phaetons:

The Chinese.

China has become the biggest market of the Phaeton. It is being built in what must be the world’s fanciest car factory. Imagine shiny parquet floor. Bright wood where no tires touch the floor. Dark wood where the car come down to earth. To fill the sudden demand, the Phaeton factory in Dresden is switching from one to two shifts, reports Automobilwoche [sub]. It can now crank out 48 hand-built Phaetons per day.

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20 Comments on “The Recession Is Over: Phaeton Production Needs Second Shift...”

  • avatar

    To my mind the Phaeton is a fine looking car.  But it is only something that could ever prosper in China.  These people eat anything, so why should that not extend to their automobile purchasing?
    [note to PC crowd: lest my gastronomical comment induce some to accuse me of Western arrogance, or even the “R” word, I’m married to a Chinese woman, therefore I speak with a bit of experience, and certainly no malice.  However, when visiting China, I draw the line at Trigger and/or Rin Tin Tin.  Better to stick with the vegetables.]

    • 0 avatar

      You are forgiven. Even Northern Chinese accuse Southern Chinese of “eating anything as long as it has four legs and two wings, jut not tables and airplanes, well, with tables one can make an exception.”
      The reason why the Phaeton sells so well is that it delivers understated luxury. Favorite of captains of state owned enterprises who can claim that they drive a Volkswagen …

    • 0 avatar

      I suppose it makes sense that the Phaeton should sell well in China, a socialist society that values “blending in” and discourages ostentatiousness. Quite the opposite of the U.S., where “standing out from the crowd” is encouraged and appreciated!

    • 0 avatar

      Are any of these Phaetons are equipped with the W12?  I suspect not.

    • 0 avatar

      Are any of these Phaetons for the Chinese market not equipped with the W12? I think not.

      BMW reportedly considered canning the V12 for the 7-series because there’s almost no demand for it in Europe due to gas prices and taxes. However, demand from China and Russia ultimately made sure they didn’t.

  • avatar

    That’s a good point. Given China’s political structure one would assume that it’s leaders would not want to give any appearance of being too ‘aristocratic.’

  • avatar

    Just a week or so ago, the factory discontinued installation of the W12 engine.
    With discontinuation of the V10 TDI a couple of years ago, the Ph is relegated to mere 6 and 8 cylinder engines.  An exotic no more.

  • avatar

    Well, maybe the recession is over in China.

  • avatar

    Is VW making them in China yet?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I’m picturing VW ordering the entire factory disassembled piece by piece, loaded onto a boat, and shipped over there to be reassembled.  (Only because given the obscene amount of money spent to build the place, it’s the only scenario that makes sense.)

  • avatar

    For all you people thinking this is a big Passat, this might be kind of funny (first 40 seconds)

    It’s from a Dutch car blog that most of the times manages to put just the right amount of cynical dry humour in their reviews. It’s (obviously) in Dutch so I’m going to go out on a limb and say most of you won’t understand too much of what is being said, therefore only the first part will be (sort of) funny.

  • avatar

    I thought VW ceased production like 2 years ago?

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    China because they have no memory of the Bug.

  • avatar

    Even Northern Chinese accuse Southern Chinese of “eating anything as long as it has four legs and two wings, jut not tables and airplanes, well, with tables one can make an exception.”
    The SARS happened in Hong Kong circa 2003 was purported to have been started by eating all these exotic animals. Several villages in Canton, MK was infected, and the a few blokes came down to Hong Kong looking for cure and that was all it started!

    My friend grew up there during the early 60s, they were being fed with powered tree barks & roots as staple of diet. Chairman Mao was successful at taking over the whole country but wasn’t all that swift in growing food for the masses.
    Always buzy at getting rid of people with brains or not quite agree with his agendas.
    Another few more yrs forward, his Red Guards not just terrorize the whole country, and even turn against their own parents too!
    If u live down the River Delta of Canton, namely the fragrance harbour, circa 68, everyday there were many floaters came down the river drifted right into the harbour.
    All these good deed rendered Eichman & Auschwiz looked tame.

    • 0 avatar

      The late 50s (Great Leap Forward) and Cultural Revolution era (66-76 or so) were not good times for the Chinese.  For those that grew up or otherwise lived during this period, hunger was not uncommon.  And prior to that was the civil war and before then, WW2.  One ought to keep history in mind when thinking of the transformation of China.  A car is a very meaningful statement in China-something we in the West usually take for granted.

  • avatar

    If I was in the market for a big luxo-barge, the Phaeton would be far and away my first choice. Understated, classic shape, no “flame surfacing” BS, every toy imaginable and some you haven’t even thought of. Much less blingy than an Audi A8, more old-school luxury and less sports sedan. Just the ticket for crossing a continent in fine style.

    Big Passat indeed.

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