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Path cleared for Phaeton success

Luxury line: The V8 Phaeton will compete against the Mercedes-Benz S350 and BMW 735.

Touareg will help whittle down price resistance against the Phaeton

28 Oct 2003

VOLKSWAGEN’S Phaeton luxury flagship has failed to come anywhere near sales expectations in Europe, but VGA managing director Peter Nochar says the fact it has been preceded in Australia by the Touareg will weigh in its favour here.

"Some people have said to us ‘How can Volkswagen get $100,000 for a Volkswagen?’ But we’ve had no price resistance at all to the Touareg," Mr Nochar said.

"We’ve sold more V8s and V10s than we expected to – and the V10 is $140,000 and the V8 is around $100,000 or more with options.

"We’re very encouraged by this and as people accept that and see more and more of them on the road, the idea of buying a luxury car won’t be such a big jump. It still will be a jump, clearly, but I think we’re fortunate compared to some European markets where the first higher priced Volkswagen was the Phaeton.

"I think having something to lead the charge with is an advantage.

"Our plan at this moment is to bring in one Phaeton model – a V8 long-wheelbase version. This is the minimum requirement for a luxury car in Australia. The V6 is not sufficient and the W12 is competing in a too rarified segment."The V8 Phaeton would compete against the Mercedes-Benz S350 and BMW 735, according to Mr Nochar.

"What we’re thinking at the moment is to display it at the Sydney motor show next year to create some sort of pre-marketing and then put it on sale at the Melbourne show in 2005," he said.

The Phaeton was introduced in Europe with V6 and W12 engines and a short wheelbase - and VW says it has learned from that experience. It sold just 2574 Phaetons until the end of July, whereas it had expected annual volume to be as high as 15,000 units.

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