The Volkswagen Phaeton has been discontinued in the UK.
Confirming the decision to drop the luxury saloon from its UK lineup, a Volkswagen spokesman said the model “in its current form” had been discontinued, because its range of engines do not meet strict Euro 6 emissions legislation.
The Phaeton first entered production in 2002 and received comprehensive facelifts in 2008 and 2010. The car’s engine range included a 236bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel, as well as V8 and V10 petrol options - in some markets a 444bhp 6.0-litre W12 option was also offered.
Although already axed in the US, the Phaeton sold well in Asian markets, where the demand for large, luxury cars continues to grow. However, analysts have suggested the Phaeton should be dropped for some time - reports from Reuters suggest the car never met VW’s original target of 20,000 units annually, despite costing more than $1bn to develop.
The Phaeton was a project of former VW Group boss Ferdinand Piech, who resigned from the company in April of this year. Piech’s departure may well have paved the way for getting rid of the Phaeton in slow-selling markets.
Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 31 Phaeton models were registered in the UK last year, compared with 107 in 2013.
Volkswagen won’t be left without a range-topping saloon for long, however. In March last year VW development boss Heinz-Jacob Neusser confirmed the Phaeton would be replaced by an all-new saloon, which they expect to be at the top of its class.
Speaking to Autocar at the Geneva motor show in 2014, Neusser said the next Phaeton “has to be class leading,” and be “very smooth and luxurious” to drive.
Despite the Phaeton never selling in great numbers, Neusser said such a model was important because it acted as a technology flagship for the Volkswagen brand.
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