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Volkswagen Phaeton



  • ffb13ffb13 Posts: 181
    well ,if you go back 5 months when i first posted you will see that my comments are on the mark.
    the recent press release and p.r. effort/news conference from vw h.q. indicates that the golf intro in europe is awful.
    red ink at vw is flowing.
    they took this lovely car two notches up market and they increased prices and boom the floor fell out from under them.

    and,if you read the phaeton info. ,more of the same with words like --dissapointement---,etc....from vw executives.
    not only in europe but also in the u.s.
    reason given vary from poor overall reliability record for vw to brand image vis a vis vw-luxury cars.

    i wanted to buy a phaeton,but common sense prevailed...and went with the lexus ls which my wife now drives....even the euro suspension is no fun.

    i am still looking for the perfect car and the more i drive and test the worst it is.
    waiting for the acura rl....who knows ?
    the s 500---too many problem areas ,mostly small.
    will try out the new maseratti quatroporte,but having owned italian cars and motorcycles before,i am skeptical.
    you have not lived until you are doing triple digits at nite and .............phufffffff,the engine quits......

    only to re-start 4 hours later at 4 a.m.

    never knowing what happened.........

    the phaeton is still a fantastic looker ,and that interior is incredible.
    but everything else is just not there.

    maybe if they drop the price or lease i may swing one just to own it for a year or two.and give it back.......get it out of my system.

    but ,their big problem ,specially here in florida is the uneducated,obnoxious sales people.and the rip-off service dept...........
    they just cannot match lexus or mb,or other high end cars.....except in service dept. rip offs.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    There are two Phaetons at my local VW dealer -- and they have been there soooooooo long, I think the paint is starting to fade (just kidding).

    I am not in the Phaeton market, even for $50K -- but, @ $50K, I might "pause a moment" to consider it -- I cannot imagine that these two cars can sit for months (of course the dealer does NOTHING except keep them completely out of sight hidden behind some Passats at the back of the lot. And this is another instance of more's the pity.)

    Additionally, I haven't seen a Phaeton TV spot in months either -- just like they did with the W8 Passat.

    Just like Audi does / did with the allroad. . .

    TV spots for the BMW and Mercedes can still be found -- as can product placements in TV shows for these Germans. The last product placement of an Audi was the show Boston Public -- the lawyer turned teacher had an A6 4.2.

    So, the slow sales of the Phaeton, I would say I agree with -- but when I look at the Cincinnati dealer support, it is no wonder. But then again, if that $66K MSRP Silver Phaeton is discounted heavily, I guess it may make someone (like me) at least consider it -- currently I am, without actually seeing product, "considering" the 2005 A6, Acura RL, Chrysler 300C AWD and the Cadillac STS-AWD. The Phaeton, due to its size seems out of my league (and since I am limiting my search to the $42 - $52K price range, that is a factor).

    Anyway, I am just not certain that the current crop of VW dealers knows what to do to effectively market a Phaeton. I am not suggesting that the car is perfect -- I am saying that the Phaeton, compared with its intended rivals is a bargain -- and probably about to become even more of one.
  • vwguild2vwguild2 Posts: 113
    Although there are currently no TV spots we can be found gracing the back cover of the current
    "Vanity Fair" and in the May 17th issue of the "New Yorker" we get the inside cover and first page...

    Advertsising and Marketing budgets are being directed at Passat, Jetta, and Touareg...Passat & Jetta are both getting complete redesigns for 2005...B6 Platform for Passat and A5 Platform for Jetta; so the current inventories must go!!!
    Thus the emphasis. Look for another PHAETON TV campaign late 3rd quarter into Q4.

    Numbers from the "other place" show PHAETON Sales
    for the year as 152/Jan., 152/Feb., 149/Mar., and 173 in April. Not too bad for a rather subdued launch...And I would suspect that the custom ordered 4 Seaters and custom paint & leather orders in the pipeline will keep the numbers at the same level or a bit higher as this quarter progresses.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    " The last product placement of an Audi was the show Boston Public -- the lawyer turned teacher had an A6 4.2."

    Yep, Ronnie Cook aka our wannabe senator's (IL) ex-wife Jerri Ryan. Good call. Fox is no-class station, they yanked what was in my opinion one of the best TV shows in years, right off the air with no finale or anything. Uggg.

  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    At the risk of wandering off topic as we all seem wont to do from time to time, I will agree completely. I knew the show {Boston Public} was dying when they moved it to Friday (of course they also killed Firefly and The Tick, go figure.)

    And in terms of VW, I can think of no show that has had VW's placed in it, recently anyway -- the Phaeton begs to be put into some show, how about Las Vegas (I've only seen it once or twice so if the name is wrong I apologize) or Smallville -- you know, make it Lionel Luthor's Black Limo-like mobile? Pure evil? In a good way, of course.

    I mean even the name is kinda sinister. . .
  • ffb13ffb13 Posts: 181
    well, they have been advertising the phaeton. mostly in print.
    i have seen the ads in magazines such as forbes -special editions ,arch. digest and departures (amex)
    and have seen it elsewhere.
    their advertising is very targeted to specific socio-econnomic groups but,these are not buying.............

    i still think that a re-badged phaeton with a more sports oriented suspension ,sold through a different type of dealership ,not vw dealers --would have a greater impact.

    and to sell an average of 150 cars a month ,or 1800 a year,maybe,,,,,is not realistic unless you are ferrari.
    and most of the so called sales are really subsidized leases..........

    vw 9corp._does not have the managerial talent that bmw has.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    I don't think VW WANTS to subsidize anything -- however, I think they "Dr Piech," perhaps set expectations that this may be a requirement.

    Now, I can recall when Audi brought 800 S4's to the US not too long ago and sold them all -- and mostly preordered.

    I think VW is "able and somewhat willing" to be in for a longer haul with the Phaeton.

    I cannot enter into a discussion regarding VW AG copr management talent, I can only ask where or why or how you have developed that point of view?

    If I were "king for a day" -- I would have put money into spiffing up the VW of America dealership body, based on the whipping they receive here on Edmunds (and other sites).

    But, Piech in his ultimate "wisdom," went for product improvements over service improvements over the "dealer experience." For all I know, the crummy dealership experiences in the US are limited to the US -- somehow, I have my doubts, but no facts to support them.

    The Phaeton, IMHO, is a high value car -- I remember a marketing class in grad school where the subject was Sony TV's -- Sony TV's it was said were able to be successfully sold at Wal-Mart or K-mart or other mass market discount stores and still maintain their top o' the market status/reputation.

    Of course this is backwards based on VW's approach, they're trying to sell high zoot cars at low zoot places without the advantage of ever having been thought of popularly as high zoot. Sony was high zoot in the specialty stores and was able to "keep the aura" even though they started selling their products "down stream."

    Perhaps, in my own way, I have talked myself into agreeing that VW ought to sell Phaetons at Phaeton dealerships -- since they don't have the rep that Mercedes had (our local Mecedes dealerships sell Maybach's and no one ever comments about this marriage the way that we seem to read here about the Phaeton's being sold through VW dealerships.)

    The time may have passed to sell the Phaetons through dedicated dealerships, however. And, besides, by 2007, VW has stated that their push up market, more or less across the line, will be well under way.

    If I had the bucks to buy a franchise, I can hardly imagine opening up a Phaeton dealership with only two models to sell. I can imagine telling even the most expensive watch/jewlery company that they could only sell Rolex's -- no Tags, no Gucci's, no Rado's, no Bulgari's and certainly no Tissot's or Hamilton's, not to mention no Seiko's -- they'd go nuts.

    VW has set its course -- I didn't say dug their own grave, I'll leave that to others here -- one more time I am rooting for them. The Phaeton is a great first effort.
  • ffb13ffb13 Posts: 181
    i reference to your post i have to agree.

    my comments on mgt. at vw goes back many years when they defaulted the usa market to japanese competition claiming that their product was superior and as such people would buy it over competition.

    this mind set still applies to vw. thus my comment.

    remember that they owned the usa import market .
    and lost 90% of it to the japanese.

    now with the phaeton they did everything backwards in lieu of strong competition at his price point .

    further, they failed to see and attack head on the pricing strategy of lexus.

    remember that lexus dealers load up their cars with thousand of dollars in extras that most would not buy or want but have no choice......this is called addl. dealer profit.
    in the southeast ,j.moran is the sole importer and he carries this to extreme.
    consequence is an average $ 9,500. dealer profit on an ls 430 if sold without discounts.

    had i been vw i would have drafted my intro. differently and would have come in at a matching price point vis-a-vis lexus and after 4 years when the name /brand is established i would then do as lexus did and price up.

    yes,it is expensive and they are in for a poor roi over 5 years or so.but eventually it would have worked.

    as they introduced the phaeton they are in for major losses to move the product and get it out there,and all the while,losing prestige ,or should i say ,failing to establish a premiun brand.

    the other approach would have given them a slow but calculated positioning in the marketplace.....a-la-lexus.

    and this is where the mind set of vw has gotten them into hot water again.
    look at thge reception of the golf in europe at a premiun level..............the opel astra is eating their lunch,
    and the japanese are pushing them into a corner as they did in the late 60,s --70 's in the usa.

    as a stand alone dealeship it will not work. they lack the image and charisma.
    what i meant was to re-badge the phaeton as an audi,or a bentley,and sell it through them.

    also, if you get a chance to see their marketing book aimed at the dealers/sales force where they break down the phaeton potential customer and their product/marketing strategy,vis-a-vis the buyer and his potential car choices that compete against the phaeton you will then understand how mixed up they are.
    it is this approach /thinking that is getting them into hot water

    the vw dealers i have come in contact with lately are a big zero.........except for one in conn.this is also a major drawback for vw.

    i have one of their (vw )air cooled engines ,custom built for me in a 1200 lb. 550 spyder ,putting out 175 hp- ( out of a block designed for 40 to 60 hp ) --and let me tell you this is one great engine.tough and simple.

    they are still making some nice cars in brazil.
  • mbukukanyaumbukukanyau Posts: 200
    Saw my first Phaeton, with a rich dude driving it slowly. It looks like a ‘Wanna be’ more than a true Marquee. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a huge car, but that badging does it in.
    It should have stayed Audi. I would not pay much for it. Its a VW. But then, I do not have that sort of money.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Wow you went way back to respond. Anyway...I like the way it looks. Very upscale looking. If you take away the badges it is a pure luxury car.

    I've seen a few around here (Chicago area) and they're always Black or Silver, good colors for such a large, well balanced car imo.

  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    It seems that ALL top-end luxury cars depreciate rapidly. I think its part of the "status" value. If its not brand new, it doesn't have the status, which is 1/2 of what the purchase price is.
    And with a VW badge instead of Audi/BMW/MB.... it will probably depreciate faster than the others, even though I expect both the VW/Audis to be recognized by collectors (in a few decades) as the best available in our time.
    So ... lease new, or wait for the lease returns to come back in a few years and save $10k a year depreciation!
  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    some interesting info:
    - Germany manufactures more vehicles than Canada and USA combined.
    - if you look at CARS (not trucks/vans) then VW & Toyota both have higher production numbers than GM (for a few years now), Ford is way down the list, and Daimler-Chrysler isn't in the top 10
    - VW will sell more cars in China in 2004 (for the 1st year) than in the US. VW has 38% market share in China
    - based on sales projections, AUDI built a factory in China a while back for A4s and it runs at capacity. How many Audi factories are there in North America?
    - owning 2 cars in China is a big status symbol. I don't know a lot of people in China, but I do know a couple with 2 cars. And they say that it would cost less to take a taxi everywhere than to operate a car, but car ownership is the ultimate statement
    - the most popular taxi in China is the VW Jetta. Due to this there is a huge demand for spare (used) parts. If anyone knows where they can get a few containers of Jetta parts, you can make a quick buck shipping them to Bejiing.
  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    VW has never expected the Phaeton to be profitable.
    The chairman made it very clear that its reason for existence in North America was "to sell more V6 Jettas".

    Where is VW spending its marketing dollars? ... building Phaetons!
     And the best part is ... people pay to drive their billboards around town!! Its perfect :)
  • vwguild2vwguild2 Posts: 113
    You have made some great points, but I would like to clarify a couple of them...

    First of all, really expensive cars depreciate more rapidly because their audience is so much smaller...Residual values are the best example of this...

    VWs Ad & Marketing $$$ are being spent, today, on
    depleting current inventories of 2004 Jettas & Passats; not on the Phaeton...
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343

    Are new Phaetons, sitting on lots for 150+ days:

    A. common as they seem to be here in River City

    B. discounted heavily if one makes an overture?

    I know there is not an unlimited supply of ad monies, but why NOT raise the awareness of the Phaeton? There were, around superbowl time some pretty neat ads for the thing. . .

    It seems as if the electronic media advertising for the Phaeton is slim to none, and slim just left town.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    I am guessing that VW is throwing ad/incentive money at their bread and butter Jetta's and Passat's. The potential profit from the Phaeton is minimal or non existant compared to the more popular models in the VW line up. Since VW is experiencing slow sales and a difficult financial situation, they probably need to bring in as much money as possible as soon as possible. That direction leads them to the more profitable Jetta and Passat. I would like to know how long Passats are sitting on dealers lots? I am also interested in seeing the sales numbers for May.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    . . .is Passat town, based on the routes I drive!
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    I think Jetta's are king of the Road here!!!!Though Passats are plentiful as well. The most seen car of all time: Honda Accord!
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Finally saw one on the road and thought it was a good looking car. It should look good since it is so similar to the A8. The A8 still looks great to me - at least until they put that awful new schnoz on it.

    Automobile also did an article on the V12 Audi vs. the V12 Phaeton this month. They favored the Audi because of handling but the better ride belongs to VW. I'd imagine that would hold true for the V8's as well. Give me good handling and a great ride in a car of this size any day - so my preference would likely be the VW if it were between the A8 and Phaeton only.
  • vwguild2vwguild2 Posts: 113
    Having driven both, but obviously with more time in the V8, I would say that on the open road and at speed they are identical...In other circumstances, because of the 6 Speed and lighter weight the V8 is more agile...Therefore; that would be my pick, and of course there is that exhaust note too!!!
  • monakhmonakh Posts: 16
    Well--I am getting rid of my 2004 E500 and I actually saw a Phaeton on the road for the first time last night.

    Having owned a '99 Jetta--the VW brand left a bad taste in my mouth, but a Phaeton (while not in the same class as the E) seems quite worthy. If they had a competitive 36month lease on it, I would seriously consider it.

    It's a shame there aren't more owners on this thread. The info is good all the same, though.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    . . .here's a clue: this board hasn't had any postings until now for over 5 days.

    Another clue: day 180 2, new Phaeton's held hostage by local VW dealer. Cars kept out of sight and even when you do pull into the lot there is a Passat sitting in front of the Phaetons which means, at first glance, one might actually see only a slightly longer Passat, unless one was actually seeking the Phaeton out.

    Monthly lease costs now begin with the #5 and this is with almost nothing down.

    Advertising? NONE, ZIP, NADA, ZILCH.

    This is no way to bring a fantastic new car -- that after all, IS a bargain -- to market.

    Did I mention that all maintenance is included?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    This is the oddest new vehicle introduction I've ever run into.

    Rich, I don't mean to put you on the spot, but can you shed any light on the strategy (or lack thereof, I guess) going on here?

    Sure seems like VW is going out of its way to make sure all of the early predictions of failure will come true.
  • vwguild2vwguild2 Posts: 113
    but, I can tell you the following...International events, including the operations in Iraq, and other Ports of Call...have caused the decline of the $ v. The Euro substantially since product launch planning began in the 4th Quarter of 2002. Then the USD=$1.25 to the Euro...but tonight it is worth $.82. 34%...And has been as much as 44%.
    Imagine that happening to the value of your house...This is the opening hand.

    We are currently gracing the inside cover and first page of THE NEW YORKER, a two page spread in
    the June VANITY FAIR...last month we had the back cover of VANITY FAIR, and again two weeks ago the same buy for THE NEW YORKER...So ad dollars are being spent, just not on TV.

    We are bringing 5 new vehicles in the next 18 months...the first two being a new A5 Jetta and a new B6 Passat...thus, job #1 is depleting current inventories.
  • vwguild2vwguild2 Posts: 113
    PHAETON sales are holding their own with minimum
    support...not bad, in my opinion, and speaks volumes regarding the quality of this automobile.
    Q4 will allow us to shift focus back to this really great car.

    I have 6200 miles on my V8, in service since Dec.7th, and not one glitch, not one rattle, not one squeak. Everything has been plus perfect...same is true with customer cars; all I get are referrals...

    Does the VW Dealer in Cincinnati need to get off
    his a-- and start Marketing the car? It probably would not reap what you sow...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "PHAETON sales are holding their own with minimum support...not bad, in my opinion, and speaks volumes regarding the quality of this automobile."

    I have to ask what is the point then? No support for the flaship product? It doesn't make any sense. They're only moving a few hundred a month that hardly says anything when competitors are doing 10xs as many. Why would a dealer spend their money on the car when VW itself isn't doing anything either. The whole Phaeton market situation just seems so hopeless and senseless, even being the great car it is. I wouldn't mention that reap what you sow cliche because VW is the one in trouble right now.

  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,935
    "This is the oddest new vehicle introduction I've ever run into."

    Pat - all due respect, but I think that the VW Passat W8 may still hold the (rather dubious) record in this category - at least in the past 10 years or so. . .

    - Ray
    Ex-W8 owner - despite VW (lack of) marketing support, etc.
    2016 BMW 340i
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    vwguild - sorry, I got you mixed up with another (knowledgeable and helpful) dealer. Thanks for the response.

    Ray - okay, I hear you on that one. :)
  • vwguild2vwguild2 Posts: 113
    I am firmly convinced that there still exists a gross misunderstanding regarding the goals with the PHAETON...

    There was never the itention to sell thousands of these automobiles every month...It is not a big Passat. Target number was 5000 units a year...400~ a month...We will probably do that next year. Again...each PHAETON is built to order. I cannot order from the factory without a name, address, and customer phone #. We can pull from Ports V8s with Standard paint and Standard options. However; there are no 4 Seaters in Port,
    and none with Special paints or leathers.

    Next is basic economics and budget...You can only spend what you have, well that isn't always true but that is what we are doing...New B6 Passats are coming and the new A5 Jetta arrives in 6 months. Inventories of current models MUST be depleted, and right now that is the priority.
    This does not seem, to me, to be a such a difficut concept to grasp...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "I am firmly convinced that there still exists a gross misunderstanding regarding the goals with the PHAETON..."

    I'm convinced of that very same thing, but I think it is VW that has the misunderstanding.....of the luxury car market in this country. The car isn't even meeting the 400 units a month goal either. I understand the point of special ordering each unit to make them unique, but still with no marketing support there will be no one to order them. That part about concentrating on Passats and Jettas is an excuse in my book. I could see if the Phaeton was an old product, but it is brand new and doesn't get much support from the marketing department, that simply doesn't make good business sense, and VW isn't a postion to be so wasteful...building such a extravagant car and then not telling anyone about it. I do have a grasp on the concept, but it makes no sense to anyone but VW employes at this point. Don't get me wrong, I love VW/Audi products but the Phaeton is just pointless as a VW.

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