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.