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Flop Phaeton Might Not Be Back

Extremely slow sales of the Volkswagen Phaeton have VW officials wondering whether it's worth bringing the car back to the States for another year of sales. In a recent interview in Britain's Car magazine, Volkswagen AG chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder said, "The Phaeton fails to sell because it is not distinctive enough." The $65,000 sedan has been criticized for looking too similar to the Audi A8, and even in Europe sales are sluggish. Pischetsrieder tells Car that the next Phaeton "will definitely not be a normal saloon." In the meantime, insiders are saying that the Phaeton may not be exported to the U.S. next year if sales don't rise.

(Source: Edmunds.com e-mail news alert)
 

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i wondered about the wisdom of the Phaeton. it's a beautiful car inside and out, but throwing it out there against VWAG's own A8 didn't seem to be a good idea. besides, how many people think of buying a 70 to 80k VW? it's worth the dough, but nobody looks past the emblem, and sometimes that's all it takes... the right emblem.
 

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Maybe when Audi complete their ugly gaping mouth restlying in the next couple of years the Phaeton's sales will increase. I certainly would not consider a new Audi with those horrible front ends.

Mark
 

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All of that money spent on the new factory in Dresden, and on developing the car could have gone to fixing the dismal quality rankings of the mainstream VWs and to bringing out restyled products quicker. The bloom is definitely off the rose at VeeDoubleU
 

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A company like VW have came back from dismal past (80'& 90') like they had, you would think they have learn something from their past plus the badge engineering from other auto makers, it goes to show no matter how good they are in the pass, the smart guys still can make mistake.
 

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VW could re-badge it as a Rolls-Royce (or is it Bentley ?). Seriously, they should be content with the segment that vW plays in (mass-produced small cars). They have their other brands (and shouldn't be blurring their images this way. Images take years or decades to establish. Re-making an image as Cadillac is doing is positive because they are staying in their established segment (high-dollar). Remember when they tried to fool their customers with that *Cinnamon* or *Pinto* or whatever it was ? I also remember a Lincoln called the Veinerschnitzel or some other Eurotrash name.
 

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Originally posted by powervette+Jul 16 2004, 03:54 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (powervette @ Jul 16 2004, 03:54 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-coolcaddy@Jul 16 2004, 06:45 PM
criticized for looking too similar to the Audi A8,
:lol:
The real reason of the flop is that Phateon is similar not to Audi but to Skoda Superb which costs 4 times less! [/b][/quote]
THe Superb is based on the Passat... a rebadge of the Passat actually.
The A8/Phaeton/COntinental aren't based on the Passat platform, are they?? :blink:

HEre's a picture of a Superb I took when I was in teh Czech Republic last summer.

The Superb
 

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I'm actually pleased that Piech was caught up in moving VW upmarket. VW diverted limited resources to developing a flop while neglecting core products like the fifth(?) generation Golf. Fortunately, GM has an appealing alternative to the Golf in the form of the strong-selling Astra.

Thank you, Dr. Piech. Your timing is impeccable.
 

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Originally posted by tgagneguam@Jul 17 2004, 03:24 AM
Fortunately, GM has an appealing alternative to the Golf in the form of the strong-selling Astra.

And what's our only option in the U.S?

VW Golf.

Or Saturn Ion, if that type of thing floats your boat. Funny, I and many an auto enthusiast I've spoken to would be happy to own an Astra or a Vectra... but few would touch a Malibu or Ion, and Cobalt remains to be seen.

What's this tell us about GM?
 

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Originally posted by SUPERBADD75@Jul 16 2004, 06:49 PM
i wondered about the wisdom of the Phaeton. it's a beautiful car inside and out, but throwing it out there against VWAG's own A8 didn't seem to be a good idea. besides, how many people think of buying a 70 to 80k VW? it's worth the dough, but nobody looks past the emblem, and sometimes that's all it takes... the right emblem.
Just because Volkswagen is known for making affordable cars doesn't mean that they can't add a more expensive model to their lineup. Dodge has the Neon for around $12k and the Viper SRT-10 for over $80k. The real issue is the fact that the Phaeton doesn't stand out. For $60k+ people aren't interested in a bloated Passat. Even though it may be a great car, it needs a design that differs from other cars like it. When VW does that, people will buy the Phaeton regardless of the VW badges on it.
 

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I knew the Phaeton was a bad idea for North America. We're too badge-consious, or shallow to be frank. It's an amazing car, more on par with the Mercedes S-Class and Audi A8, but with a clean, simple European design. The problem? The A8 and the S430 are close in price, so why not pick the Mercedes or Audi over a Volkswagen?

Another slow seller is the great Touareg. The Touareg is a real SUV with real capabilities, both on-road and off, as well as performance and luxury associated with BMW, Mercedes, etc. Hopefully the plans to bring the amazing V10 TDi over haven't been scrapped, with decent economy coupled with the capabilities it has it could be a great seller if it's marketed right.
 

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Originally posted by desmo9@Jul 17 2004, 03:41 AM
And what's our only option in the U.S?

VW Golf.

Or Saturn Ion, if that type of thing floats your boat. Funny, I and many an auto enthusiast I've spoken to would be happy to own an Astra or a Vectra... but few would touch a Malibu or Ion, and Cobalt remains to be seen.

What's this tell us about GM?
Alas, you're right, we don't have a compelling option in the US. I actually prefer the more upscale design of the Astra than the Cobalt, though admittedly I have not ventured to Europe since the new Astra was born and cannot say that with 100% certainty. And somehow the Vectra comes off better than the Malibu, too.

I still think the point is valid: Piech's forays into the luxury arena have come at the expense of maintaining the bread-and-butter cars of the VW line (and that's perfectly fine by me). There's nothing wrong with expanding your model range, per se. But when it comes at the expense of your established vehicles, as has been the case with VW, then there's a problem.

This point is maintained irrespective of what GM does well or incorrectly.
 

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Originally posted by tgagneguam+Jul 17 2004, 06:22 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (tgagneguam @ Jul 17 2004, 06:22 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-desmo9@Jul 17 2004, 03:41 AM
And what's our only option in the U.S?

VW Golf.

Or Saturn Ion, if that type of thing floats your boat. Funny, I and many an auto enthusiast I've spoken to would be happy to own an Astra or a Vectra... but few would touch a Malibu or Ion, and Cobalt remains to be seen.

What's this tell us about GM?
Alas, you're right, we don't have a compelling option in the US. I actually prefer the more upscale design of the Astra than the Cobalt, though admittedly I have not ventured to Europe since the new Astra was born and cannot say that with 100% certainty. And somehow the Vectra comes off better than the Malibu, too.

I still think the point is valid: Piech's forays into the luxury arena have come at the expense of maintaining the bread-and-butter cars of the VW line (and that's perfectly fine by me). There's nothing wrong with expanding your model range, per se. But when it comes at the expense of your established vehicles, as has been the case with VW, then there's a problem.

This point is maintained irrespective of what GM does well or incorrectly. [/b][/quote]
We actually batted this one around for dozens of pages, and I'm sure you took part in the discussions on occasion. Thus, I intentionally avoided going back to the heart of that matter. With respect to the rest of VW's lineup, which some allege was overlooked as a result of Phaeton's resource base? It's all been speculative. The Touareg has done well, Passat is holding its own, so we have the Golf Mk5 and Jetta. Yes, it would have been good for VW to get them on our shores, any shores, a year or two ago. But there is no evidence that their delay is the result of resources traded-off to the Phaeton program.

OK, one can argue that resources are finite, so it's inevitable that VW's bread and butter suffered as a result of Phaeton. Vis-a-vis, suppose Cadillac develops the Sixteen and it flops, because people don't associate Cadillac with over-$100K motoring. Will we criticize GM for wasting resources that should have gone to the parched mainstream lineup? Arguably, a $65K VW no more ostentatious than a $150K Cadillac. But in either case, the value of the investment transcends the balance sheet for the offering to how it impacts overall brand value. Even if you're just peddling $20K hatchbacks, that brand value may be the difference between getting $19K each or, per the GM-way, $15K. How many people were less sticker-shocked by the $45K Touareg they were considering, in part due to the handsome $65K sedan of the same brand, parked within an eyeshot?

The main strike against the Phaeton, ironically, had nothing to do with the car itself. It stems from bland-looking Audis, creating an inter-divisional quandry. The dreaded overlap most cite would have been alot more tolerable had Audi raised the bar and set itself apart. The milk-mouth nose job was hardly sufficient. In fact, VW might be wise to pull the Phaeton off the market now that it could be seen as the most desirable sedan in the VW-group portfolio.
 

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Originally posted by Bucch89@Jul 17 2004, 12:24 AM


Just because Volkswagen is known for making affordable cars doesn't mean that they can't add a more expensive model to their lineup. Dodge has the Neon for around $12k and the Viper SRT-10 for over $80k. The real issue is the fact that the Phaeton doesn't stand out. For $60k+ people aren't interested in a bloated Passat. Even though it may be a great car, it needs a design that differs from other cars like it. When VW does that, people will buy the Phaeton regardless of the VW badges on it.
No.. it doesn't mean that they *can't* do it. It just means that they *shouldn't* do it.

So what if the Phaeton "stood out." The next-gen Phaeton is going to be "somethign between an Estate and a Saloon." What the heck does that mean. A sedan/wagon type deal? Who's going to buy THAT for $65K.

Furthermore, VW will have to go a VERY LONG WAY to convince the people that the VW name is worth $65K-92K. The people who can afford that type of car are not going to settle for a "mere VW."

NExt... there is the question as to what VW is trying to accomplish here when Audi already fits the bill. Especially now that Audi has already started encroaching on Bentley's territory.

Finally... whoever develops VW's pricing needs to rethink their models. Golf is not doing so hot becuase it no longer offers consumers a value. EU 18,000 for a low/mid-end Golf? Realize that VW had to offer free A/C and rebates to buyers, just to get the Golf inventories down?

VW's got problems. What it boils down to is that Phaeton.. and the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on designin, engineering and marketing a lame duck has cost VW a LOT.
Remember... Phaeton was NEVER supposed to come to the US. They were "forced" to sell to the US because they COULD NOT sell the car in Europe. Now that Phaeton's even in worse shape in the US... they're going to pull out all together and say "the car doesn't stand out."

Sorry VW... that's only part of the story.
 

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Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Nice car, wrong badge. Maybe they will finaly worry about the rest of the line up?
Will Audi fair better going down market with the A3? Will VW lose its Golf to the "rebadge" A3 in America? We keep talking about the popularity of the badge, and people will want to spend the extra cash for the 4 rings then the VW.
 

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I thought the value of the phaeton was not in sales but rather in changing the perception of consumers who are in the lower market places..

hard to sell a 20 grand jetta when a 25 grand baby Bimmer exists..

VW needs the phaeton to elevate the image of the entire VW lineup so the Jetta can compete on the actual car rather than image..

JMO..
 
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