Auf wiedersehen: Volkswagen says its range-topping Phaeton is not long for this world

2015 Volkswagen Phaeton
Volkswagen has announced it will stop building the Phaeton in March of next year. Launched all the way back in 2002, the flagship sedan is the latest victim of the Wolfsburg-based car giant’s plan to cut costs in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal.

The news might come as a surprise because the Phaeton was axed from the Volkswagen lineup in the United States after the 2006 model year. However, it’s still offered in a handful of European countries, where its base price is generally markedly higher than that of an Audi A8, and in China, where it was recently given a few minor updates inside and out.

The Phaeton has consistently missed its sales targets since its introduction, but demand has plummeted in recent months and production has consequently dropped to approximately eight cars a day. The glass-walled factory in Dresden, Germany that churns out the sedan will shut down for about a year after the last example rolls off the assembly line and will be completely revamped. Its full-time employees will be transferred to other Volkswagen Group factories in the region, while some temporary workers are expected to lose their jobs altogether.

Volkswagen officials told trade journal Automotive News that the Dresden factory will be assigned a new model to build as soon as it re-opens, though they stopped short of confirming what it will be. Insiders have also revealed that the next generation of the Phaeton will be assembled in Dresden starting in 2019.

The second-generation Phaeton is a monumentally important model because it will spearhead Volkswagen’s electric car offensive. It will again take the form of a highly luxurious, Audi A8-sized sedan with an understated design, but it will not be offered with conventional gasoline- and diesel-burning engines. Instead, it will be equipped with an evolution of the 430-horsepower battery-powered drivetrain that will be inaugurated by the production version of the Audi e-tron quattro concept in a couple of years’ time.


Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.