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Volkswagen is being accused of tampering with their efficiency graphs, by adding a non-existant H-category so that their Phaeton wouldn’t appear to be in very last place. The energy efficiency graph is assigned to all new cars by the German Environmental Aid Association and are only mandatory for cars since December 1st, 2011.
Their 4.2L V8-powered Phaeton with 335-hp ranks in the G-category, and it appears that VW’s graph was manipulated to show an H-category, possibly clouding how inefficient the Phaeton really is.
Of course VW announced its innocence and that it was a simple mistake and they never had the intention to deceive their customers. The graphs were only used on their German website and not in dealer showrooms or other countries’ websites. It’s already been replaced by the proper one.
[Source: Left Lane News]
The next-generation Volkswagen Phaeton will be offered in North America says VW product planning boss Juergen Borrmann. The first generation version of the flagship luxury sedan originally went on sale in the U.S. in 2002, but was dropped in 2006 after dismal sales results. Originally targeted at 20,000 units globally, last year VW moved just 4,500 units.
By the time the Phaeton does make its return to the U.S. market it will be entirely redesigned, with a timeline for the second generation model due out around 2013. Earlier this year VW announced an update to the current Phaeton model, which received a similar update in 2007.
The plan to reintroduce the Phaeton is part of a larger plan to grow the VW brand in the U.S., where Volkswagen aims to double its share of the marketplace by 2018 and increase profitability – although at this point any profit would be an increase as VW’s U.S. unit has posted eight consecutive losses.
CEO Martin Winterkorn firmly believes in the Phaeton, however, and it’s ability to help position VW in the marketplace. “Without our flagship Phaeton, VW wouldn’t be where we are today in terms of technology and image,” he said when the revised 2011 model was unveiled in April.
And the updated model does seem to be sparking interest in the luxury sedan with sales up 15 percent over last year and the Dreseden plant where the vehicle is produced now working at full capacity. Much of the demand, however, is coming from China with that country accounting for 70 percent of deliveries.
In the interview with Bloomberg, Borrmann did not discuss how VW aims to make a success of the Phaeton this time around. The vehicle’s failure in the U.S. market is generally blamed on the fact that it was sold in VW dealerships alongside volume and economy models, while the biggest issue was the price, with some models costing as much as $85,000.
***UPDATE*** According to VW of America Product Communications Boss Kerry Christopher, “while Volkswagen believes there are opportunities for the Phaeton in the U.S., no final decisions have been made.” He did go on to tell AutoGuide that, ” we are working closely with our Dresden colleagues to evaluate any opportunities in this market.”
GALLERY: 2011 Volkswagen Phaeton
Volkswagen‘s impressive luxury flagship, the Phaeton, may return to the U.S. after all – but not any time soon. According to a new report by Motor Trend, a VW rep told them as much, commenting that VW execs now believe the decision to cut the Phaeton from the U.S. market was “premature.”
Sold here between 2004 and 2006, the Phaeton was a failure in the sales department, which led to the decision by VW of America. As it turned out, Americans really weren’t ready to pay $65,000 for a VW. And that price was for a base model, with top-trims stretching all the way to the $100,000 mark.
We’re not sure what’s changed to make the U.S. market now favorable to the Phaeton. The price is still high, although not excessively. The Phaeton may wear the VW badge, but its as luxurious inside as a Lexus. The original model did win over a core group of buyers who would likely be willing to purchase another one, so at least Volkswagen now has a place to start from.
For those waiting for the return of the Phaeton, they’ll have to keep waiting. If the Phaeton does return, don’t expect it until the next generation of the car debuts around 2016.
GALLERY: 2011 VW Phaeton
[Source: Motor Trend]
Volkswagen’s U.S. CEO has confirmed the planned return of the Phaeton. In an interview with The Detroit News, Stefan Jacoby outlined the German automaker’s plans to become a major payer in the U.S. market and to sell 800,000 vehicles annually by 2018.
The plan includes vehicles, many of them entirely new models, to compete in the U.S. market. Included in the list are a new mid-sized sedan, to replace the Passat, and a new compact sedan, to replace the Jetta. Apparently the Polo has still not been green-lighted for the U.S.
Along with an additional crossover, Jacoby did say that VW is looking at a top-level luxury car and even used the Phaeton name. The Phaeton, a massive flop for VW when it sold in the U.S. from 2004 to 2006, was based on the same platform as the Bentley Continental Flying Spur and was priced accordingly.
Jacoby did, however, say that the new Phaeton would be aimed more at the full-sized segment, than the luxury one, hinting that it would be designed to take on cars like the Toyota Avalon.
We’ve known for some time now that Volkswagen is planning to build a new mid-size sedan, but as details of the German automaker’s future product lineup emerge, it appears as though VW isn’t just interest in taking on the Camry, but the entire Toyota lineup.
Volkswagen has the potential to overtake Toyota as the world’s largest automaker, but first it must crack the North American market. The new mid-sized sedan will be the first step in that direction, but after it will come a competitor for the Highlander.
Apparently Volkswagen is finally ready to abandon its European philosophy and sell Americans what they want – big cars. “U.S. customers look at size and engine displacement. They won’t pay an extra dollar for a Passat over a Camry just because of its finesse and attention to detail,” said a VW representative to the staff at Car & Driver.
So what we can expect from the upcoming sedan is essentially just a larger and less expensive version of the Passat, with what will most likely be a more progressive (CC-esque) design. The VW rep’s comments about engine displacement also draws into question previous reports that the upcoming sedan will be powered by VW’s 2.0 TFSI and 2.5-liter engines.
The release date for the upcoming Volkswagen family sedan has also been moved up to 2011, most likely to take advantage of the struggling U.S. automakers.
It, as well as the Highlander-competitor, will both be assembled in the Unites States at Volkswagen’s new Chattanooga, Tennessee facility.
The new bigger-is-better philosophy at Volkswagen will also spill over to the Polo. Apparently it will still hit our shores but not until 2012 and in a larger format than in Europe and as a sedan.
According to C&D, VW’s future vehicles for the U.S. include the BlueSport Roadster (which has been temporarily placed on hold) as well as a second generation of the hugely unsuccessful Phaeton.
[Source: Car & Driver]