FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen is studying a diesel powertrain as a selling point to relaunch the Phaeton luxury car in the United States, its top U.S. executive says.
Stefan Jacoby, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, says VW is eager to reverse its decision to yank the slow-selling car from the U.S. Launched in 2003, the $70,000-plus sedan sold 1,939 units in 2004, its peak year, and was off the market by 2007.
“I have to admit that it was a mistake to take this car out of the market,” Jacoby said in a media briefing at the auto show here.
“We think that the Volkswagen brand is a good place for this. We are looking at various alternatives for the re-launch of Phaeton.”
Jacoby said that strong demand for VW's diesel models during the U.S. cash for clunkers program suggests that a diesel Phaeton might work as a high-tech, energy-efficient model.
He said the VW brand sold about 11,500 vehicles during the clunkers program, but it might have sold more if it had not run out of popular diesel-powered vehicles like the Jetta TDI station wagon.
That shows an increased interest in diesel technology in the U.S., he said.