Remember the Volkswagen Phaeton? The über-luxury sedan that looked like a Passat on steroids and cost as much as a 7 Series BMW? A car that VW sold about 10 units of in the United States before it disappeared in 2006?
According to The Truth About Cars, the revised VW Phaeton will make a re-appearance on this side of the pond at some point in the not-too-distant future. There is no timeline yet, but the return was confirmed by VW’s CEO Martin Winterkorn, so we know it’s legitimate.
By all accounts, the VW Phaeton was an excellent car sold through a dealer network ill equipped to handle delivery or repair. Owners reported horror stories of VW dealerships unable to resolve ongoing problems, and indifferent about keeping Phaeton customer’s happy. Used examples can be found on eBay for around $20; in other words, for the price of a two year old Camry, you can buy a six year old sedan that was billed as the best car in the world.
I haven’t been to a VW dealership in a while, but I can’t imagine much has changed since 2006. If VW wants to succeed with the Phaeton this time around, they’ll need to revamp dealer sales and service departments to accommodate Phaeton customers. At Lexus prices, buyers expect Lexus customer service; anything less and the new Phaeton is doomed before it even hits these shores.