Believe it or not, Volkswagen is taking a second crack at the Phaeton with a second generation model. This may seem strange to us since in North America, the Phaeton wasn’t exactly a top seller.
This is mainly because many of us snobbish, brand-conscious Americans couldn’t swallow the pill and idea of buying a $60,000+ Volkswagen, when Audi exists. If you even considered the W12 model, prices exceeded well over the six-figure mark of $100,000.
Though the reason why it cost so much was because the original Phaeton was a beautiful, over-engineered, statement of excellence, showcasing what Volkswagen AG is capable of at the hands of the one and only, anal-retentive Ferdinand Piech. It also gave the conglomerate another reason to utilize the at-the-time, new D1 Platform. That D1 Platform also gave birth to the first-generation of Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur.
Other than being loosely based off of the Audi A8 platform at the time, it had no relationship with any Audi product at the time, except for its 4.2L Audi-sourced V8. So the Phaeton was a marvel of its own, despite some assumptions.
Despite being unpopular and heavily unappreciated in the US, it actually ended up selling decently in Europe and Asia, or at least enough to convince Volkswagen that it should continue into a new generation.
For the second time around, Volkswagen promised the new Phaeton to be more cost-conscientious and efficient, but ironically, Volkswagen recently had to delay the Phaeton because the new model is just too costly to make. That’s a bit ironic considering the fact the original model was costly for Volkswagen to design and make.
Some estimates suggest VAG lost around €28,000, or $32,045.44 USD at current exchange rates, on each example of Phaeton sold between 2002 and 2012. It also puts into perspective that the current Phaeton has been in production since 2002 and is still being produced for markets abroad–meaning its around 13 years old.
Either way, Volkswagen’s adamant about sustaining Ferdinand Piech’s vision for a Volkswagen-based Mercedes-Benz S-Class competitor, despite the Audi A8 still being around without issue and that Piech stepped down earlier this year from his position as a chairman on Volkswagen AG’s advisory board.
We’re looking forward to it, but we wonder if the rest of the world is.
– By: Chris Chin