Friday, January 28, 2011

Volkswagen Reconsidering Scirocco and Phaeton for the U.S. Market


Earlier this month, Volkswagen announced that it’s going to expand its North American SUV lineup in order to catch up to GM and Toyota and triple its U.S. sales by 2018. However, the automaker also wants to boost its image, so it may bring back the Scirocco coupe and Phaeton sedan to the States.

In an interview in Washington, Jonathan Browning, head of Volkswagen’s U.S. operations, told Bloomberg News that the company is exploring the idea of selling the two models in the U.S. “We will reconsider bringing the Phaeton back to the U.S. in the next product cycle,” said Mr. Browning who added that no final decision has been made yet.


While not a bad car, the Phaeton had a short-lived career in the U.S., which ended in 2006. It seems that American buyers just couldn’t get used to the idea of a Mercedes S-Class rival with a Volkswagen badge. On the other hand, the Scirocco was successful in the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s, so to this day, many are wondering why VW chose not to import the latest generation of the coupe model. In Europe, the Scirocco is offered with a variety of powertrains ranging from a 52.3 mpg 140HP diesel to a 265HP 2.0-liter turbo in the sporty 'R' model.


The Scirocco and Phaeton are not expected to offer a lot in terms of sales, but rather to provide an image boost for the company. The real “earners” will have to be models such as the new Jetta and Passat.

“VW wants to capture U.S. buyers by rolling out more emotional cars and the Scirocco certainly fits that category,” said Frank Schwope, a NordLB analyst in Hanover. “In terms of volume sales, the Scirocco and Phaeton are only decorative accents, they won’t be crucial for VW’s goal to greatly increase deliveries”.
By Csaba Daradics
Source: Bloomberg




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