Slow-selling luxury saloon is officially dropped from the UK, but a replacement is already planned

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.

Volkswagen uncovers Phaeton replacement at the 2016 Geneva Motorshow - the Phideon

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.

Read more:

Luxury on the cheap - used Volkswagen Phaeton buying guide

Volkswagen Phaeton review

Blog - Farewell to the Volkswagen Phaeton, and farewell to Piech too

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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
8

4 June 2015
I am sad to see the Phaeton fail. But when the same car puts on Bentley's clothes nobody complains! I like its understated elegance, its tasteful interior. As a design it looks to me better resolved from all angles than the Lexus LS, 7 series, S class, the A8

4 June 2015
There's nothing elegant about an enormous Passat, awkward frontal overhang and all, especially when it's blinged up to resemble a Bentley with carp-eyed headlights. If this was Dr Piech's baby then it was a spoilt, fat child which looked funny and didn't make any friends.

4 June 2015
Given the other upmarket saloons in the VAG range, the Phaeton always seemed rather pointless.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

4 June 2015
A8 is the obvious in-house rival. I don't recall any A8 vs. Phaeton test, but only remember critics saying the heavier Phaeton uses more fuel. But given Audi's traditional weakness in ride I suspect the Phaeton would have better ride comfort than the A8 (especially when the Bentley Continental Flying Spur was based on it), which is an important consideration in a luxury saloon. However, Phaeton's catastropic commercial failure in markets outside China is disappointing and can only point to badge snobbery.

4 June 2015
Seemingly VW have found that the extremity of brand allegiance in UK finishes just below the Phaeton. Not so many years ago, there was a promotion going where if you bought a Phaeton you got a Fox thrown in for free, an odd combination perhaps, and I am not sure whether that was meant to be after any other negotiated discounts.

wmb

5 June 2015
It is sad to hear that the Phaeton, in its current arrangement, will be going away. Well, its not surprising due to VW having left it pretty much unchanged, save for a few updates, since its creation. I always thought that one of its biggest challenges, was that it was originally priced so close to the flagships of Audi, BMW and MB, for it to be a VW! I thought the original thinking was to offer a VW flagship for EClass and 5 Series money, and move up from there with options? I wonder, though, with its association with the Flying Spur, will the new Phaeton be moving to the same platform as the future Spur, Panamera and its variations? If so, with that architecture being rwd based, how well will that set with its awd, front heavy brother, the Audi A8? While that arrangement might keep the two from being direct competitors, that setup would only seem to make the new Phaeton a better rival against the 7 Series and S Class then its sister car, the A8! That might make for very tense and uncomfortable Sunday family dinners in the VW group house hold.

5 June 2015
Neusser said the next Phaeton “has to be class leading,” and be “very smooth and luxurious” to drive.

Well, duh...

I know that sometimes Autocar has little choice but to quote industry figures but some of the stuff they come out with is just...

5 June 2015
Neusser said the next Phaeton “has to be class leading,” and be “very smooth and luxurious” to drive.

Well, duh...

I know that sometimes Autocar has little choice but to quote industry figures but some of the stuff they come out with is just...

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