NEWS: Volkswagen Planning New Phaeton, Modern Microbus -- Which Should Come Here?

September 11, 2012
Volkswagen Phaeton Front Three Quarter
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Volkswagen's future product portfolio could see the German automaker reviving two former vehicles in the U.S. market -- but which of those would be the best fit for America? According to Automotive News, Volkswagen is considering bringing the Phaeton ultra-luxury sedan back to the U.S., as well as a new three-row Bulli that's inspired by the original Volkswagen Microbus.
The Volkswagen Phaeton was previously sold here (that version is pictured below), but it didn't sell well and was discontinued in 2006. Part of the problem was a mismatch between the car's price tag and Volkswagen's street cred: customers were loath to pay Mercedes-Benz S-Class prices for a car with the VW badge. Sales of the Phaeton in America peaked at1939 units in 2004, before dropping to 820 in 2005 and just 235 in 2006.
AN says that Volkswagen will launch a new version of the Phaeton in Europe in 2015, and the car could come to the U.S. at an undetermined date. We have previously reported that the new luxury car will be built on a new architecture, potentially called MLM Evo and shared with Audi. It might be designed as a "five-door coupe" like Audi's A7 and Mercedes' CLS-Class, and is expected to have interior quality on par with Bentley cars. Expect four- and six-cylinder gasoline engines, plus a new hybrid drivetrain.
At the same time, AN confirms that Volkswagen is still planning to bring its Bulli people carrier to the U.S. Shown several times as a concept car (pictured), the Bulli is a modern-day interpretation of the classic Volkswagen Microbus. In 2011, a senior Volkswagen official told us he really wanted to sell the Bulli in the U.S. -- but at the time, such a move hadn't been approved. Now AN reports the Bulli will debut on our shores in 2014 or 2015. It would be a three-row model with a small four-cylinder gasoline or diesel engine. Previous concepts had predicted an all-electric Bulli, but those plans apparently have been scrapped.
Assuming all goes according to the plan laid out by AN, which future Volkswagen would you like to see sold in the U.S.? The glitzy Phaeton, the practical Bulli, neither, or both? Have your say in the comments section below.
Volkswagen Bulli Concept Front Three Quarter

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