More Affordable Volkswagen Phaeton Under Consideration | Edmunds

More Affordable Volkswagen Phaeton Under Consideration

Just the Facts:
  • The premium Volkswagen Phaeton is expected to re-enter the U.S. market.
  • The redesigned sedan — which once approached the $100,000 mark for a fully loaded model — is likely to debut later this decade with a non-luxury price.
  • The relaunched Phaeton may carry a sticker price designed to woo buyers of well-equipped, large domestic sedans, including a fully loaded Chrysler 300 or Ford Taurus SHO.

SAN FRANCISCO — While the price for the first-generation Volkswagen Phaeton stretched to over $100,000, the redesigned sedan could re-enter the U.S. market with a sticker price that might interest a shopper considering a fully loaded Chrysler 300 or Ford Taurus SHO.

Volkswagen is in the process of determining "what will we need to compete for those type of customers," Kevin Joostema told Edmunds. Joostema is Volkswagen of America's general manager for product planning.

In comparison, the 2014 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition with all-wheel drive starts at $48,175. A 2014 Ford Taurus SHO starts at $40,805.

The Phaeton is Volkswagen's luxury sedan, a hand-built car that was priced alongside some BMW, Mercedes-Benz and even Volkswagen's Group's Audi models. While sales continue in Europe, the Phaeton had a short three-year run in the United States, ending in 2006.

Simply, U.S. buyers weren't ready to spend luxury-car prices for a sedan that was marketed by a brand synonymous with such mass-market cars as the Golf, New Beetle and Jetta.

Joostema would not confirm that the final decision has been made to re-enter the U.S. market with the redesigned Phaeton. He was interviewed at a Volkswagen press event here. However, industry sources expect U.S. sales to begin later this decade.

The Phaeton will be the largest sedan marketed by the Volkswagen brand and is expected to share either a modified Audi A8 or A6 vehicle platform. A wide range of engines is expected, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid and diesel.

The largest sedan sold by Volkswagen in the U.S. currently is the 2014 Volkswagen CC, which starts at $32,660.

"There are a lot of opportunities" for the Phaeton, Joostema said. "It would be like it was last time, a new place for the Volkswagen brand."

However, he said Audi has some models that compete in the area Volkswagen is eyeing. Pricing relative to Audi's models is another issue "so those are some of the things that have to be planned out, strategized."

Edmunds says: If Volkswagen gives the nod to sell the Phaeton in the U.S., a price point near a loaded Chrysler 300C limited edition model makes business sense and should have appeal for car shoppers.

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