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VW CEO calls Phaeton saloon a mistake

Reuters / July 06, 2004

FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Bernd Pischetsrieder believes the company's previous management made a mistake when it built the luxury Phaeton as a saloon, British monthly CAR reported in its August issue.

"The Phaeton fails to sell because it is not distinctive enough," Pischetsrieder told the magazine in an interview, adding that the next generation might be a mixture between an estate car and a coupe.

"It will definitely not be a normal saloon," the former BMW CEO said, pointing out that engineers had originally conceived it differently. "But the marketing people said the luxury buyers would insist on a saloon. That was a mistake."

Pischetsrieder also blamed marketing for nearly killing off the immensely popular Golf GTI model, which he is reviving.

"It was too slow, too average. It was a good example of marketing getting it wrong. If it hadn't been for those fans of the old Golf GTI, and their clubs and meetings, the icon would have completely disappeared," he said.

This is the second time Pischetsrieder has publicly criticized the car maker's product policy under his predecessor and current VW supervisory board Chairman Ferdinand Piech.

In an interview with the Financial Times in early June, Pischetsrieder said it had been "absolutely the wrong decision" to introduce VW's small Polo model in China.

Pischetsrieder also used the CAR report to take aim at Piech, who brought him to VW and anointed him as his successor.

"Dr. Piech possibly emphasized engineering too much, and his predecessor Dr. Hahn possibly emphasized employment too much," he told CAR. "My goal is very clear. It is to make money."
 

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VW had marketing behind pushing for the Phaeton all right, just the wrong marketing team :crazy: . Sounds like a major shake up is about to happen at tough time VW-ville :shock: .

"Dr. Piech possibly emphasized engineering too much, and his predecessor Dr. Hahn possibly emphasized employment too much," he told CAR. "My goal is very clear. It is to make money."
I hope VW isn't about to take it to the extreme and become a bean-counter driven company. :(
 

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Well all i know is that I saw a phaeton 2 days ago and it looks pretty nice! Its a very big car but it looks very classy! But VW is not know for luxury cars and chucchinchilla is right on his comment!
 

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"The Phaeton fails to sell because it is not distinctive enough," Pischetsrieder told the magazine in an interview, adding that the next generation might be a mixture between an estate car and a coupe.
So he doesn't see any problem with VW selling such an expensive car, just this design :crazy:
 

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chucchinchilla said:
or the fact that the owners would be getting the same shitty service at the dealers that a golf gl would be getting
I may be wrong about this, but the feeling I get from reading some of the posts from members in VW's home market is that service there is a qunatum leap better than here.
 

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Grinder said:
"The Phaeton fails to sell because it is not distinctive enough," Pischetsrieder told the magazine in an interview, adding that the next generation might be a mixture between an estate car and a coupe.
So he doesn't see any problem with VW selling such an expensive car, just this design :crazy:
Imagine this...a $75,000 two door hatchback. :shock:
 

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Sharky said:
Altair 4 said:
I may be wrong about this, but the feeling I get from reading some of the posts from members in VW's home market is that service there is a qunatum leap better than here.
You're not wrong at all.
Bro in Europe dealers make a Lexus dealer look like a gas station used car dealership.

I dont think never thought and never will think that Pheaton was a mistake....

VW should go thru these dealerships....and see for yourself what they are about. I think they have completely no knowledge of what goes on.....and how business is done....thats the maim problem.

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And this from the man whose former company hired Bangle?
He's also making himself look good at the expense of Piech - who brought VW to the heights it was. New product should have been jammed through engineering to get it out - not wait almost 6 years for VW's biggest market to get a Jetta replacement.
No, the Phaeton is an excellent car, supported by the most bass-ackwards car company in the US. It would have made more sense for VW, however, to sink its engineering into the new A8 - available with a W12 from the beginning.
 

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I don't see what's the problem with Polo's availability in China market. Polo sold like hotcakes there, as with all other VW products.

As for Phaeton, it simply looks stunning in person. :thumbup: Its ironic this guy's former company designed some of the ugliest cars that pollute our planet these days. :thumbdow:
 

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passaturbonium said:
Sharky said:
Altair 4 said:
I may be wrong about this, but the feeling I get from reading some of the posts from members in VW's home market is that service there is a qunatum leap better than here.
You're not wrong at all.
Bro in Europe dealers make a Lexus dealer look like a gas station used car dealership.

I dont think never thought and never will think that Pheaton was a mistake....

VW should go thru these dealerships....and see for yourself what they are about. I think they have completely no knowledge of what goes on.....and how business is done....thats the maim problem.
Funny that the man himself at VW admited that it was a mistake ... did I miss the memo again :???:. Also, I've been to many countries in Europe myself, and made a point to go check out the local MB & BMW dealers just for kick, and what I saw were nice, on par with the Lexus dealers around here ... again I must have missed that memo again :???:
 

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vuvision said:
passaturbonium said:
Sharky said:
Altair 4 said:
I may be wrong about this, but the feeling I get from reading some of the posts from members in VW's home market is that service there is a qunatum leap better than here.
You're not wrong at all.
Bro in Europe dealers make a Lexus dealer look like a gas station used car dealership.

I dont think never thought and never will think that Pheaton was a mistake....

VW should go thru these dealerships....and see for yourself what they are about. I think they have completely no knowledge of what goes on.....and how business is done....thats the maim problem.
Funny that the man himself at VW admited that it was a mistake ... did I miss the memo again :???:. Also, I've been to many countries in Europe myself, and made a point to go check out the local MB & BMW dealers just for kick, and what I saw were nice, on par with the Lexus dealers around here ... again I must have missed that memo again :???:
Obviousely he is looking at it from the financial point of view....thats all these guys care about.

Has nothing to do with the car...enthusiasts or their love for compnies cars. :wink:

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I don't doubt for one second that Pischetsrieder doesn't take passion about VW and his products. But when sales is on a slipery slope spiraling downward, drastic situation requires drastic measure. Job cuts ahead ... until the bleeding stop, and first order of business for Pischetsrieder is to make money ... cash is still king, the rest will follow nicely. :wink:

http://www.keepmedia.com/ShowItemDetails.do?itemID=392411&extID=10032&oliID=213
David Kiley said:
DETROIT -- Volkswagen said Tuesday that it will cut 5,000 jobs by next year as it struggles to cope with lower earnings, unfavorable exchange rates, quality problems and a lack of hot products.
VW reported that net profit plunged 58% in 2003 to $1.4 billion from a year earlier and that its core VW brand lost money.

Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder says the job cuts, about 1.5% of the global workforce, will come from early retirements and attrition and should help the company save $2.5 billion by 2005.

He warned that first-quarter earnings will be "lousy," lower than last year's weak earnings in the same quarter, but said that he expects an improvement in full-year operating earnings after one-time restructuring charges.

The Volkswagen brand is being squeezed at both ends of the price spectrum. Sales of a new version of its highest-volume model, Golf, launched last fall in Europe, have been below expectations as Renault, Opel, Toyota and Hyundai have crowded the subcompact segment with popular models.

Meanwhile, its push into the premium segments has been costly and has delivered mixed results. The Touareg sport-utility vehicle, priced at $36,000 to $58,000, has sold reasonably well. But the $66,500-to-$98,000 Phaeton sedan, which has a dedicated manufacturing plant in Dresden, Germany, has struggled to find an audience in any market.

Growing sales from 1998 to 2002 signaled a renaissance for VW in North America and buttressed earnings. But sales have been declining again because of a lack of a new product priced below $30,000 and because of well-publicized quality problems.

By Pischetsrieder's own admission, the company needs SUV-style vehicles priced at $30,000 or less to drive Volkswagen brand sales in North America, Europe and developing markets.

The engineering platform of the new Golf, designed before Pischetsrieder arrived in 2000, doesn't support crossover SUV development the way the chairman would like.

"An SUV in the volume segment would be a very good thing for us," Pischetsrieder said in a recent interview. A sport van, modeled after the classic VW Microbus, isn't due until mid-2006 and is expected to cost at least $30,000.

Volkswagen's and Audi's performance on J.D. Power and Associates' quality and reliability rankings have been well below the industry average the last few years.

"We have made improving quality a special priority because we know it's easier to keep customers than it is to have to win them back," Len Hunt, head of the VW brand in the USA, said in a recent interview.


© Copyright 2004 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
 

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Altair 4 said:
I may be wrong about this, but the feeling I get from reading some of the posts from members in VW's home market is that service there is a qunatum leap better than here.
Not only in Europe. VW got the #1 rating in customer satisfaction survey in Japan, a nation where VW is the premium brand. :)
 

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passaturbonium said:
I cant believe that Automakers dont look into these BS Power and Associates crap.....so pointless. First 3 months of ownership are the ones that I least worry about.....its 5 -10 years from now that I want to know God damn it!!! :D
That's what "Consumer Reports" handles (not that I find that much more reliable than JD Powers).
 

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Can they all change their last names please? Smith, Brown, Jones, and Grant.
 

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Altair 4 said:
passaturbonium said:
I cant believe that Automakers dont look into these BS Power and Associates crap.....so pointless. First 3 months of ownership are the ones that I least worry about.....its 5 -10 years from now that I want to know God damn it!!! :D
That's what "Consumer Reports" handles (not that I find that much more reliable than JD Powers).
Exactly....not like they test these thing themselves....its all thru consumers. And as far as I know 1 bad consumer experiance will bring some havoc onto the review they might do.

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