VW plans new MLB-based flagship Phaeton, as well as future hybrid and EV models with increased range

The Volkswagen Phaeton will be replaced by an all-new saloon that will be expected to top its class, VW development chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser has confirmed at the Geneva motor show

Neusser said “the next Phaeton has to be class leading” and be “very smooth and luxurious” to drive.

Despite never selling in great numbers, Neusser said a replacement for the Phaeton was important as it acted as a technology flagship for the VW brand and allowed advanced systems to be put into production, with lessons then applied to getting that technology into its more mainstream models at an affordable price.

“We use all the technology and develop it for other VWs and group brands,” said Neusser. “It’s actually got a very attractive business case.”

The new Phaeton would be based on VW’s next-generation MLB platform, which is currently in development. 

Neusser also said he wouldn’t be resurrecting plans for a small VW sports car inspired by the BlueSport concept. The BlueSport was the brainchild of his predecessor, Ulrich Hackenberg, but a business case could never be made for it.

Nesusser admits he “personally likes the idea, as do all the engineers” but the business case was not there still – and even diminishing further – as “the segment is so small”. 

More plug-in VWs are planned, however, and Neusser can see a time when every VW in each segment the brand competes in has a plug-in hybrid variant. 

VW is also committed to developing pure EV technology, and Neusser expects current battery technology to improve to allow around 50 per cent more range than at present by 2016.

Then, by 2020, he says next-generation battery technology will allow for a range that is three times further than is acheivable today, at which point the technology would have more mass market appeal should the infrastructure be in place to support it. 

Read more Geneva motor show news.

Our Verdict

The Volkswagen Phaeton’s decade-old platform needs more than a tweak to be a success in the luxury car market

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Comments
15

6 March 2014
No company should be able to subsidise non-selling rubbish like the Phaeton for this amount of time. VW has become too powerful, it is a monopoly which should be broken up like Standard Oil.

6 March 2014
Phaeton scores 271.0 in reliabilityindex (right down the bottom left hand end of poor), but this is then eclipsed by the Bentley Continental GT scoring a massive 525.0, putting it 6th from bottom in the worst 100. Presumably, a prerequisite of the "very attractive business case" is that punters don't wake up and smell the "coffee".

6 March 2014
"Despite never selling in great numbers, Neusser said a replacement for the Phaeton was important as it acted as a technology flagship for the VW brand and allowed advanced systems to be put into production, with lessons then applied to getting that technology into its more mainstream models at an affordable price." Doesn't VW have their other brands to do this for them, such as Audi, Porsche and Bentley? VW just needs to revamp the styling and build quality of their existing model line and drop the Phaeton to make them competitive in the market as cars from the U.S. and Korea are improving vastly and becoming a serious contender. Though I would love to see VW produce a groundbreaking sports car that is high performance yet reasonably priced and under the Corrado or even the Karmann Ghia nameplate.

6 March 2014
Volkswagen is no Monopoly - It may be the major shareholder of many of the world's leading vehicle brands but each of these has its own identity, contributing to the prosperity of its employess in 105 countries. VWs Brands include:- Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda and motorcycles under the Ducati brand; and commercial vehicles under the MAN, Scania, Neoplan brands. The Phaeton is sound product for the Luxury end of the market, where the purchaser is more interested in the construction of a vehicle designed to be chauffeur driven, and provides a different set of values from other brands in this market sector. I have no idea why Norma Smellons should make an irrational comment suggesting VW should be broken up. Firstly it already is broken into multiple brands, and secondly no-one has any right to break up ANY company.

Malo Mori Quam Foedari

6 March 2014
Norma, you talk cr4p as per usual, if your pathetic and usual stirring were to be carried into real world, there would be NO Bentley, NO Rolls Royce, NO Lexus, NO Vauxhall, NO Opel, and so on and so on, so why don't you go back to your hole, and bury yourself because your continued ignorance is becoming boring.

6 March 2014
“It’s actually got a very attractive business case.” Unless of course you're the customer whereby VW have admitted you're a guinea pig. And you're paying for one of the fastest depreciating cars on sale. Personally I can't see any business case for it.

6 March 2014
scotty5 wrote:
“It’s actually got a very attractive business case.” Unless of course you're the customer whereby VW have admitted you're a guinea pig. And you're paying for one of the fastest depreciating cars on sale. Personally I can't see any business case for it.
As long as there is a Bentley there will be a Phaeton. The 'test bed' is actually Bentley's smaller saloon. This is just a rebodied version with a few more Golf parts to the interior.

6 March 2014
The Phaeton is like the now extinct Citroen C6, I'll probably never own one, but I'm glad that it is being sold, something a bit interesting.

6 March 2014
It's such a shame that very often the most attractive looking and comfortable cars get slated so much. Some of us actually do like a car to be luxurious and good looking and the Phaeton is a wonderful machine. Ok it has faults, but it's an impressive presence. I wish more cars looked as classy as this.

6 March 2014
I have always had a soft spot for the Phaeton. It has road presence and they are extremely rare. But a replacement is long overdue! Compared to its rivals this thing really is a dinosaur.

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