The madness of King Piech was legendary - In the mythical tale ‘The Creation of The Phaeton - The Most Perfect Sedan in the World’ The 10 commandments were given from Herr Piech - and the engineers rebelled, whined and the word ‘unmöglich’ might have been retorted by a poor fool that now engineers VW Polos without one arm in Brazil. The mad king didn’t give a shit. Heads rolled, some were put on spikes to warn others. In the end, the first Dragon was created - and it was good - The VW Phaeton - My car, the best sedan out there. (The 2nd Dragon would be called Veyron a few years later)
After all the failed conquer of the US market, and the perceived quality myths. Was the Phaeton a failure? Was it Piech’s Waterloo? It depends... not every car is created to make money or conquer a segment - some become brand ambassadors, and that is what the Phaeton ultimately became - VWs Ambassador to the world - The Flagship of the brand. The best it could be.
The point of the Phaeton was achieved – ultimately it failed in the US to conquer a segment already busy with Audis, Mercs and Bimmers, but in Europe and Asia, they use Phaetons as government approved rides, and they are also heavily used for UN/EU personnel and meetings.
While true, the Phaeton is not selling at anywhere close the quantity of a BMW 7 series, the car’s purpose became different. Its now intended to be car for heads of state. Remember, Mercedes didn’t build the Grosser long platform cars for a mass market or to make money on them – but because it furthers the brand, from the Queen to Idi Amin. The Phaeton is now a car for Heads of state, Popes, Discreet billionaires, Davos groupies et al. Piech pushed beyond sanity the makers of the People’s Car to make a car fit for Kings. And guess what? He did it. Time and Time again.
I am on my 2nd Phaeton so I can speak that the reliability issue is more myth than truth for these cars- My first one made it from 78,000 miles when bought to 140,000 with me in 7 years with expensive but not unreasonable issues for a German Flat V8 from VW. Car is 50% sensors and those are buggy as all hell, and VW is a greedy fucker pricing Phaeton parts, but no major components fail in the engine. The most dangerous failure is the air suspension shocks for the 04s, but now they are plenty in the 2nd market, no need to replace all 4. So, I think my friend Tavarish might agree, Phaetons can be managed at a price and some patience, for kingly rewards. Fun fact – the US Phaeton has never been recalled for anything ever, something its other VW brethren can’t say.
Piech now takes leave from VW - Pushed out in a Politics-move-gone-awry and he drank his own poison. IMHO, Piech, should’ve been more patient. VAG is number 2 or 3 auto manufacturer in the world (depending on the month), so Winterkorn is certainly doing his job, despite the big-ass deficiencies in the US and China market. IMHO – this can be fixed and VW can certainly do it. But King Piech has never been a patient man and has probably gotten more irritable with age. Off with his head like a Mad King.
So I just hope VW continues the production of the Phaeton after Piech is no longer around, although I really doubt it as the MK II Phaeton has not really have gone beyond a rough digital prototype that looks not that elegant to me. Seems like a Cadillac CTS mated with a Phaeton by force. Do Not Want.
The current one 2015 model you can buy in Europe still shares the vast majority of the main platform, interior and V8 engines as the ones sold in the US – I hope, I hope they try one more time, even if the car is no longer a Bentley in disguise. I want to go to Dresden now more than ever.
All hail His Grace, King Ferdinand of House Piech, First of His Name, King of the Phaeton and the First Veyrons, Lord of the 12 Kingdoms, and Protector of the VAG Realm. - we salute you.
The King is Dead! Long live the king!
(Yes, I might have been watching too much Game of Thrones, but I’m behind in season 4 so I gotta hurry)