Phaeton, again? What is VW thinking?
Volkswagen announced in June that they plan to once again sell the Phaeton in the U.S. Redesigned with the US market in mind, “There’s no doubt that the Phaeton absolutely has to go back to the US,” ...“This is being reflected in the next version. It will look much more like a car for America.”
But will a high end Volkswagen ever sell well in the U.S., or anywhere else in the world for that matter? Consider the factory where Phaetons are manufactured, the "Gläserne Manufaktur" (factory made of glass) in Dresden, Germany. Built specifically to build and showcase the Phaeton, the factory has an annual capacity for 26,000 units, but production for the first 4 years totaled only 25,000 cars, a little more than 6,000 per year! in 2009, production (for Germany and China apparently) totaled slightly more than 4,000 units,
The problem with trying to sell the Phaeton isn't quality or price, the problem is image! Mercedes Benz, BMW, and even Audi (Phaeton and the Audio A8 shared components), cars that are historically known as pricey, well made, and "high end", sell very well. Buyers of expensive cars want people to see that they have achieved a certain status. Driving up to the entrance of the country club in an expensive Mercedes Benz, BMW, or Audi says something, it's a sure bet. Driving up in an expensive Volkswagen, on the other hand, might say something else. All bets are off.