Sensing there's profit to be made, Volkswagen is reportedly ready to relaunch the Phaeton in the US, perhaps as early as this January.
The Volkswagen Phaeton is a bit of an anomaly. It's a large luxury sedan jam packed with all those high-tech goodies, but wears the badge of the "Peoples' Car" automaker. VW is not exactly known as a "premium brand"; that's what Audi is for. The first-gen Phaeton debuted in 2002 but was pulled from the US market after 2006 due to poor sales. But VW suggested a couple of years ago it wanted the Phaeton in the US once again, and that may just happen this January at Detroit.
A new report is claiming VW Group chief Martin Winterkorn has strongly hinted at the Phaeton's big US return, stating that "A brand as large as Volkswagen needs a halo project in the upscale segment. We've seen what happens to brands that don't have that kind of project." Based on the same platform as the Audi A8, the new Phaeton may be offered with an optional hybrid setup, but nothing has been confirmed. What's unlikely, however, is the Phaeton being offered with the mighty W12 engine once again. With VW's goal of increased US sales, having a large sedan available in showrooms could turn out to be quite profitable.