VW boss admits the Model S has forced the brand to up its game in redeveloping its luxury saloon, which is due in around 2020

The Tesla Model S killed off development of the next-generation Volkswagen Phaeton, forcing a rethink of how the discontinued model will be relaunched.

The revelation by Volkswagen brand boss Herbert Diess was made at the Geneva motor show, where he admitted that any new large VW saloon would have to have “next-generation” technology.

“We were quite far advanced with the next Phaeton but it became clear it wasn’t enough of a leap forwards,” said Diess. “A modern large saloon has to be competitive and have an advantage over the Tesla, which is the benchmark and in many regions dominates the segment.

“Now, if we go back there, we have to take Tesla seriously, and of course that is what we are doing with our electric strategy.”

The next-generation Phaeton is rumoured to be undergoing development for a launch in around 2020, but the model will most likely be a radical departure from the current car in order to take advantage of the space-efficient MEB electric car platform currently being developed by VW, and may not even keep the Phaeton name. As such, it is likely to compete with the Tesla on range, interior packaging and quality, while delivering the option of similar acceleration and performance levels.

The previous VW Phaeton went off sale in the UK in 2015.

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Comments
7

7 March 2017
When old hats like Volkswagen pay compliments to a new kid on the block then you know that Elon Musk has moved the goalposts single handedly. Does it mean end of the dirty diesel is nigh?

7 March 2017
If Herr Diess thinks it big or clever to admit your competitors have kicked your ar*e, then I don't think he has long in the top job. A British stiff upper lip is what is required Herr Diess, not drawing the attention of one and all at such a public event, to your perception of how good your competitors products are. Complete absence of leadership, appalling PR, totally inexcusable. Except you are VW, so you deserve all you get in my book.

8 March 2017
"Complete absence of leadership, appalling PR" - So you prefer lies and exaggerations then?

8 March 2017
Of course not - just keep quiet. You don't hear the head of BMW praising Mercedes or Audi do you? The head of Samsung giving a press conference about how good iPhones are? How about the James Dyson lecture on the qualities of the bagged vacuum cleaner? J-u-s-t s-a-y n-o-t-h-i-n-g, g-o-t i-t a-b-k-q-?

8 March 2017
It's decent of Herr Diess to acknowledge that the future of luxury cars is EV, and that Tesla is the benchmark VW is working towards. That's the kind of company I'd like to give business to.

8 March 2017
The problem with the phaeton was two-fold... Brand Snobbery - no one wanted an executive car with a VW badge Design - nobody wanted a car that looked like a Passat and had a VW badge. They might as well have put Skoda or SEAT badges on it for all the difference it would make, it was just a way of using up spare Bentley platforms and allowing for development without hurting the Bentley brand. Overall a very narcissistic project and (apart from the Chinese market) probably best left to die, like Maybach, a similarly doomed exercise.
Sarky traffic cops before speed cameras were invented.......... "Having trouble taking off Wing Commander?"

A34

8 March 2017
[quote=kboothby]The problem with the phaeton was two-fold... Brand Snobbery - no one wanted an executive car with a VW badge Design - nobody wanted a car that looked like a Passat and had a VW badge. ...[/quote] Exactly. VW is about Golfs and smaller cars with some deviations into SUVs and Mondeo - class Passats for taxi duties. Audi is the exec VW. Skoda and SEAT the value brands. Bentley for rich snobs. Phaeton was more a kind of prototype mule for an A8... albeit great value 2nd hand!

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