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.
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.