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VW Phaeton Returning to U.S. Market – with a Plug-in Hybrid Option

Next-gen luxury sedan could reach showrooms by 2018 or 2019.

by on Sep.26, 2014

A rendering of a possible new Volkswagen Phaeton. Image courtesy of Autoblog.com.

If at first you don’t succeed…Volkswagen is set to try again when it brings the next version of its big Phaeton luxury sedan back to U.S. showrooms late in the decade.

And the next version is expected to feature a new plug-in drivetrain option, along with more conventional gasoline and diesel packages, according to various sources.

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Introduced in the U.S. a decade ago, the Phaeton was a flop the first time around, but VW is hoping it will better connect with American buyers as part of a significant expansion of the German maker’s product portfolio. (more…)

Phaeton Accomplii?

A look inside VW’s Transparent Factory

by on Oct.09, 2009

A good thing Volkswagen's Transparent Factory has soft Canadian maple floors.  Operating at a fraction of capacity, workers are quite "relaxed," says one manager.

The Transparent Factory has soft Canadian maple floors. Operating at a fraction of capacity, workers are quite "relaxed," says one manager.

Volkswagen officials like to boast that their Glaserne Manufaktur, or Transparent Factory, is “the most modern manufacturing plant in the world.”  Perhaps so, but at least among mainstream auto manufacturers, it is undoubtedly the least efficient.

The striking, glass-walled assembly line, built a stone’s throw from the reborn city of Dresden, Germany, was designed to produce VW’s first true luxury car, the Phaeton.  The project has had as much to do with corporate ego as with corporate earnings.

Though the Phaeton has been pulled from the U.S. market, a victim of nearly non-existent sales, VW continues to produce it for Europe and a few other markets, albeit at a glacial pace of just 24 vehicles a day, barely a quarter of what the plant was designed for – and even that was a figure company officials privately admit would have been difficult to earn a profit on.

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But the facility is nonetheless a striking example of what can be done if money is no object and you’re focused as much on image – and willing to keep your powerful labor unions happy – as anything else.

(more…)