VW Phaeton Returning to U.S. Market – with a Plug-in Hybrid Option

Next-gen luxury sedan could reach showrooms by 2018 or 2019.

by on Sep.26, 2014

A rendering of a possible new Volkswagen Phaeton. Image courtesy of Autoblog.com.

If at first you don’t succeed…Volkswagen is set to try again when it brings the next version of its big Phaeton luxury sedan back to U.S. showrooms late in the decade.

And the next version is expected to feature a new plug-in drivetrain option, along with more conventional gasoline and diesel packages, according to various sources.

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Introduced in the U.S. a decade ago, the Phaeton was a flop the first time around, but VW is hoping it will better connect with American buyers as part of a significant expansion of the German maker’s product portfolio.

The question is whether Americans are finally ready to accept the idea of a full-size luxury Volkswagen, an image that runs counter to the classic perception of the “Beetle company.”

The return of the Phaeton has been something a number of senior Volkswagen managers have discussed since the car was pulled from the market. But it was confirmed by Michael Horn, who recently took over as head of Volkswagen Group of America.

Horn has the challenging task of putting the maker back on track after several years of unexpected sales declines. He is under pressure to deliver on earlier promises that would have the company selling 800,000 vehicles annually in the U.S. before the end of the decade – though Horn has told TheDetroitBureau.com he might need to push back a couple years.

To get there, VW is looking to expand its product portfolio, adding some models specifically geared for the American market, including a new compact crossover based on the well-received CrossBlue concept vehicle. Yet another new CUV also is reportedly in the works.

The original Phaeton delivered something of a shock when it was first unveiled nearly a decade ago. The vehicle was designed to go head-to-head with the best of the premium luxury market, including not only competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series, but also the A8 produced by VW’s subling brand Audi.

Despite good reviews, sales were minimal, at best. What is in store for the next-gen Phaeton remains to be seen, but several VW senior officials have suggested the next model will be far more expressively styled than the original. And, it seems, it could have significantly more onboard technology, both in the cabin and under the hood.

(VW builds an edge over rival in China. For more, Click Here.)

Based on the Volkswagen Group’s midrange MLB architecture – shared with the Audi A6 and A8, among other models – the Phaeton will likely have a variety of different powertrain options, depending upon market, including gas 6-, 8- and even 12-cylinder engines, diesels — and a new plug-in hybrid, according to Automotive News.

(Click Here for details about the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid.)

That high-efficiency engine could share technology with other Volkswagen brands – including Porsche, which will launch the new Cayenne S E-Hybrid plug-in at the Paris Motor Show next week.

(To see how September U.S. vehicle sales are expected to do, Click Here.)

For now, VW officials are remaining mum on specific engine plans, referring to the plug-in as just a “rumor.”

The base version of the new Phaeton is expected to cost around $70,000 when it returns to the U.S. sometime around 2018 or 2019.

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2 Responses to “VW Phaeton Returning to U.S. Market – with a Plug-in Hybrid Option”

  1. Mike says:

    BMW bumps the M3 sticker nearly 40 percent and VW decides it needs another $70,000 car. They are putting something in the water in Germany I don’t think has FDA approval.

  2. Jorge says:

    Unfortunately VW management has failed to understand that even VW loyalists in Germany/Europe refuse to pay $70K for a “Volkswagen”.

    While the previous Phaeton models were excellent cars they were basically overpriced by $35K. The same will hold true if the price is going to start at $70K on this new version instead of ending at $50K with every option VW can bolt onto the car.

    Here’s a hint VW: The VW brand does NOT have the status of BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Lexus, Jaguar, etc., and it NEVER will as the very name Volkswagen means the People’s Car not the King’s Car. If VW can’t make a ton of money on the Phaeton selling at $50K out the door, they are doing something very wrong.


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