Phaeton: Audi in a Volkswagen Skin

2011 volkswagen-phaeton-facelift-preview-rendering Half a decade ago I labeled the Volkswagen Phaeton a fiasco.  A great car coupled with a marketing disaster:

The car is perfect. In fact it’s a technological marvel full of luxuries.  It only has one problem:  the wrong badge. Volkswagen happens to mean “people’s car”, but that’s beyond the point. What matters is that VW’s are perceived as good middle-class cars, not more.  At $80K people buy luxury cars, not just in terms of performance, but image, too.  What were VW thinking ,when they have their own upscale brand, Audi?   This car is clearly an Audi, mistakenly branded Volkswagen.

There is a reason why Honda created Acura, Toyota created Lexus … but I guess VW slept through that class in Marketing.

The 2011 revamped version has just been revealed at the Beijing Auto Show. Hm… if you ask me, this looks more “plain Volkswagen” than the first, failed version.  The company hopes to sell more in China, where Volkswagen enjoys a more upscale reputation, and there is still talk of re-introducing it to the US Market.   It will be interesting to see this.  The Phaeton has lately become popular in Europe, but let’s remember that’s where people buy luxury Honda’s without the need to re-label them as Acura :-) 

Although the new Phaeton is rumored to sell at a lower price then the original (think $60K range vs. $80K+), I still think it will be a tough sell in the US.  Here the folks who want to spend that much on a car don’t want a Volks car – they are clearly in the Audi range.


Bragging on YouTube Results in Criminal Charges

18-old Marko Petrovic probably regrets recklessly driving trough Sozina, Montenegro’s longest vehicular  tunnel at the breakneck speed of 260 km/h ( 161 m/h) –or at least sharing the experience on YouTube for the whole world to see.

While the entire world has not seen it  yet (only 13k views for now), Montenegro police certainly has: they should up at his parents’ home, filing criminal charges of reckless endangering and impounding his dad’s  Audi A8.

(A commenter to the video thinks the car is a BMW, not an A8, since he sees the iDrive – I have no clue, car experts feel free to jump in.)

Anyway, I think this is a great initiative: I would strongly encourage reckless drivers, muggers, robbers, all sorts of criminals to follow suit: document your act, earn your well-deserved fame on Youtube.  At least in countries where you can get prosecuted based on a video. smile_wink

Source: (in Hungarian)

Update:  This kid’s timing was really, really bad.  Barely a month after he posted his video, Montenegro banned Facebook and Youtube access if all public sector offices:

“With the aim of optimising traffic and lessening the network loads of governmental agencies during work, access was disabled to potentially dangerous sites and sites that generate large capacities,” the government told AFP.