BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) – Volkswagen AG may bring back the Scirocco coupe and Phaeton sedan to the U.S. as it aims to triple sales in the world's second-largest car market.
“We will be looking for opportunities” to return the Scirocco to the U.S., Jonathan Browning, VW's U.S. chief, said Thursday in an interview in Washington.
“We will reconsider bringing the Phaeton back to the U.S. in the next product cycle,” he said, adding that a decision hasn't been made yet.
Volkswagen withdrew the 67,400-euro ($92,360) Phaeton, from the U.S. in 2006 after poor sales. The Scirocco, which sells in Europe for 22,500 euros, had a cult following in the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s.
Closing the gap with Toyota, GM
VW targets sales of 1 million vehicles in the U.S. by 2018, including models by its Audi luxury unit, to close the gap with Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co., the world's two biggest automakers.
VW introduced a larger version of its Passat midsize sedan at the Detroit auto show in January, its first car built specially for the U.S. “We were very, very encouraged by the reaction,” Browning said of the new model.
“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, Germany. “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.”
VW will open a factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, by April and start delivering the new Passat, priced at around $20,000, in the third quarter. The carmaker closed a factory in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, in 1988.