Volkswagen Moving Ahead With New Phaeton Despite Itself
Despite cost-cutting measures meant to save the automaker €5 billion annually by 2017, Volkswagen is moving ahead with a new Phaeton by 2018 at the latest.
Reuters reports the revamp of the €76,000 ($86,000 USD) executive car would cost up to €650 million ($733 million) according to Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst, flying in the face of a pledge by VW to cut production costs and non-profitable models in order to save €5 billion ($5.6 billion) annually by 2017. He adds that the Phaeton — the €1 billion ($1.13 billion) pet project of Chairman Ferdinand Piech that has lost €28,000 ($32,000) per unit sold between 2002 and 2012 alone — is “the most irrational project” as far as budgeting goes, yet lives on because Piech and CEO Martin Winterkorn “cannot let go of their fondness for luxury products.”
Additionally, the Phaeton would not only have a hard time doing battle against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series as far as sales go (85,000 units annually for the S and 64,000 for the 7 compared to an estimated 11,900 for the new model between 2017 and 2020), but it would also struggle against its own stablemate, the Audi A8. U.S. sales are another likely challenge, as well, considering the automaker’s own struggles in understanding the U.S. market.
Nonetheless, VW is preparing the second-gen Phaeton for its showroom debut between 2017 and 2018, with a PHEV version coming down the pipe, as well.
The root of the problem is about the identity of VW. If the leader at VW wants to make it a respected full line brand. Then, what's the point of acquiring all the other European brands? Dump everything including Audi and use Phaeton to fill that void. If he chooses to keep all the other brands, then it makes the most sense to define VW as the cheaper and lower brand in the group.
Jack's Filet o Bricks McMansion was ugly as sin.
The only real "Phaeton" was offered on the 1979 Cadillac Coupe / Sedan deVille with the American 425 V8. No VWs allowed here ever again...
while on the subject on vee dub, my 96 jetta had the air bags deployed when i drove across a speed bumb