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Phaeton finished

Sadly, we saw this coming. Volkswagen has officially confirmed its six-figure Phaeton sedan will be yanked from the North American market sometime next summer.

Sadly, we saw this coming. Volkswagen has officially confirmed its six-figure Phaeton sedan will be yanked from the North American market sometime next summer. Though well engineered and executed, the car simply never caught on with its intended affluent buyers, who preferred established luxury brands like BMW, Mercedes — oh, and let’s not forget VW’s upmarket cousin Audi, which suddenly faced awkward in-house competition. The car was often referred to as “Piech’s Folly” after the former company head who pushed the Phaeton’s development. Many pundits say he should have concentrated on getting the new generation of Golf and Jetta to North America, rather than developing the luxury sedan. Apparently, the decision to axe the Phaeton was made by VW’s new head honcho, Wolfgang Bernhard, and executive vice president of Volkswagen of America, Adrian Hallmark, both of whom are looking to move the brand back to its previously successful heart-of-the-market position (and the heck away from Audi). In 2004, 93 Phaetons were sold in Canada, and in the first eight months of 2005, only 21 found owners.

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