VW will make an all-new VW Phaeton - but the car will be pitched at the US/Chinese markets

Volkswagen is abandoning its bid to make the Phaeton a rival for the 7-series and S-class in Europe — and it will tailor the next generation of the car to the US and China instead.

The Phaeton, which has sold in tiny numbers since its launch in 2002, has just been facelifted and given some of the internet connectivity originally seen on the latest Audi A8, another of its rivals.

Read Autocar's facelifted VW Phaeton first drive

But VW is already planning to switch the next Phaeton to a new platform, and insiders admit that its styling and mechanical make-up will be steered towards the US market, where sales of the car ended in 2009, and China, where VW expects to sell 3000 of the current model this year.

“There’s no doubt that the Phaeton absolutely has to go back to the US,” said our insider. “This is being reflected in the next version. It will look much more like a car for America.” That’s likely to mean a slight increase in size and far more ostentatious styling than the current, ultra-conservative look.

VW is considering a number of options for the car’s underpinnings. The most likely source is said to be the extended version of the Audi A6 that’s sold in China. But our insider refused to rule out the possibility of using the A8’s aluminium platform. “Everything is open to us,” he said.

The focus on markets outside of Europe is likely to ensure that all three of the current Phaeton’s petrol motors — V6, V8 and W12 — survive into the next incarnation. There will also be a hybrid version, which is likely to use a version of the petrol-based powertrain from the Touareg hybrid.

Diesel options are likely to be a 3.0-litre V6 and possibly a V8, which could give the car a performance oil-burner to replace the discontinued 5.0-litre V10 TDI.

Greg Kable/John McIlroy

See all the latest VW Phaeton reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Phaeton
The Phaeton shares its platform with the Bentley Continental GT

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
6

18 June 2010

VW insider says "Everything is open to us".

Translation: "we don't really know what to do".

18 June 2010

ohhh no they re gonna ruin it, i dont even like the facelift much. too shiny!

18 June 2010

VW insider says "Everything is open to us".

Translation: "we don't really know what to do".

what it really means: we are gaming with all of you, so that everybody will be surprised at the end, including the rivals.

mind you, the comcept D was an fastback, and the Pheaton is a sedan.

a couple of years after their lunch, insiders told that they made the concept D just to mislead the competition...

and in the end they made the Pheaton, the Continental GT, the Continental GTC, the Continental Flying Spur, the Continental Supersports...

GD

8 July 2010

Does this mean that a new Bentley Continental is in the pipeline? The only initial rationale for the Phaeton was as a development base for the Bentley, that could be charged against VW and therefore reduce VW's tax bill, at a time when they had no profits to offset at Bentley. Now Bentley is immensely profitable, unless the new Mulsanne has wiped out the taxable profits.

The real pity is that the current Phaeton is a brilliant car, which because of its badge just didn't cut it in Europe.

GB

8 July 2010

[quote GD]he real pity is that the current Phaeton is a brilliant car, which because of its badge just didn't cut it in Europe.[/quote]

True. They are brilliant cars - I was passed by a Swiss registered one on the autostrada between Milan and Lake Orta last year going very fast indeed. When I arrived at the hotel there was the rather bug splattered Phaeton - a W12. When I asked how fast he was going he said (after asking if I was a policeman) 'more than 200 but less than 300!' ( km/h of course) The charming gent took me for a rather brisk drive the next day and I was very impressed indeed. All that said though, brilliant car that it is I think that people spending that sort of money want one of the Big German Three.

9 July 2010

I saw a 'blinged up' Phaeton on the M40 today. It was a sort of metallic yellow with a black strip down the middle and big, black alloys. It looked bloody awful. It was in convoy with a rather nice 5.0 TDI Phaeton though.

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