The Volkswagen Phaeton appears set to make its US return after the company’s CEO admitted the brand needs an high-end halo car.
Bloomberg reports Volkswagen Group head Martin Winterkorn has all but confirmed the luxury Phaeton’s US return saying, “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,” Winterkorn said.
“[Volkswagen needs to] take initiative. “And we will, I promise you.”
Pulled from the North American market in 2006 after four consecutive years of poor sales, the hand-assembled four-door was originally the concept of former chairman Ferdinand Piech.
Several sources revealed to Bloomberg a new Phaeton may be shown at next year’s Detroit auto show in January, with the Audi A8-based Volkswagen to potentially offer an optional hybrid powertrain.
According to the report, the reintroduction of the model would not only aid the German manufacturer’s global Phaeton sales, which last year reached about half of its worldwide target volume, but increase US sales that have seen a slowing since the 2011 release of the US-spec Passat and Jetta.
The US return of Phaeton is not a new idea, with former Volkswagen Group of America CEO Stefan Jacoby saying in 2009, “I have to admit that it was a mistake to take this car out of the market”.
“We are looking at various alternatives for the re-launch of Phaeton,” he said.