Introduced in 2002, the full sized Volkswagen Phaeton was sold in the U.S. for the 2004 and 2005 model years. When time came to introduce the 2006 models, the Phaeton was not included in VW’s line up. Two years of abysmal sales spelled the end of the Phaeton at least on American and Canadian highways. What happened to the Phaeton? Will a full sized VW ever grace its North American line up again? Read on and we’ll explore exactly what doomed the North American Phaeton.
There are many reasons why the Volkswagen Phaeton was doomed even before it hit the American market:
Whoever heard of a luxury VW? In a country where Mercedes, BMW, and Audi represent German luxury, the thought of including VW in that sentence seemed all too foreign to most drivers. Ever since the Beetle, the Squareback, and the Bus held sway in the U.S., consumers have been treated to one inexpensive VW after another. Somehow, adding a luxury model to the Volkswagen mix seemed a bit of a stretch.
Too expensive. With a base sticker price of $66,000 the Phaeton was priced tens of thousands of dollars above the price of the Passat, the nearest vehicle in the VW line up to the Phaeton. And the volkswagen oem parts
are out of reach.
Disappointing quality: One of the biggest disappointments with the VW Phaeton were its service issues. Quite frankly, the car was seen in the shop more than any car in its class. Volkswagen has struggled with electronic problems and oil issues with several models over the years and the Phaeton has been no exception. With the large number of electronic gizmos found in each model, concern about the Phaeton’s long term dependability were noised abroad before the car even reached America’s shores. Thus, the VW Phaeton already had a “problem plagued” label affixed to it, although that label is partly undeserved.