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Phaeton revisited

Price position: VW Australia wants the Phaeton to be priced against the BMW 5 Series rather than the 7 Series.

Volkswagen is still keen to get its big Phaeton luxury saloon into Australia

4 Jun 2008

VOLKSWAGEN is still keen to introduce its big Phaeton luxury saloon in Australia, despite already having made a decision not to sell the car here three years ago.

Volkswagen Australia boss Jutta Dierks said she is “a big fan” of the Phaeton and believes that there is still a market for the car.

“When I had to make the decision that the Phaeton was not coming in, that was the worst decision I had to make,” she said.

“We have customers who go through the range and then suddenly there is nothing left. I am a strong believer in Phaeton.”

However, with the next generation model only a couple of years away, Ms Dierks believes it is worth waiting to give it the best chance of success.

When the Phaeton was first introduced in Germany, only select dealers were allowed to sell it, but Ms Dierks said that experiment did not work and that it would be sold though all Volkswagen dealers if it comes here.

“You have to be careful to make sure there is an enough volume, so that the dealers will look after the car.”

There is also the issue of price - a major sticking point with the current Phaeton, which Ms Dierks wanted to price in competition with E-class and 5 Series rather than S-class and 7 Series, as it would have been.

Ms Dierks suggested that the price positioning of Phaeton and the way it was marketed here would be decisive factors.

“We haven’t made the decision yet - we have a pretty good idea what we want to do, but I also have to confirm with my head office if they can live with our price proposal.”

Polo TDI auto push

VOLKSWAGEN is continuing to lobby its German parent for an automatic transmission version of its Polo TDI to increase the sales potential of the lean-sipping light car.

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“We are still hoping we can get a TDI with automatic transmission, which will give us volume,” said VW Australia managing director Jutta Dierks. “It is still very difficult.” Currently a 2005 update of a model that was first introduced in 2002, the Polo is due for replacement in Europe (with a new platform) in 2009.

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