Can Volkswagen Emerge As The Newest Player In The Luxury Car Market?
VW America has a very distinct history from any other car maker. There are many exotic manufactures like Ferrari, Maserati, and Lotus who have produced small production runs of very expensive cars that go fast and whose names sound very inviting when you offer your new assistant a ride home in one of them.
Just because VW is a German import makes it different from domestic or Japanese manufactures. Porsche has always been known as the German sports car company leaving BMW and Mercedes to duel it out as to who makes the best luxury cars. Although Audi does occasionally produce a winner like the TT for some unknown reason they have never been apart of the German luxury car debate.
The English have made Bentley, Rolls, and Jaguar for some time now but ownership of one of these thoroughbreds has never made it onto the must do list in the same way that ownership of a Mercedes or BMW has among the urban professional middle class. So what is the big idea of VW thinking it can muscle in on such hollowed ground? Big is right, the new Phaeton weighs in at 5,400 pounds. This is 800 pounds heavier then a similar Audi.
Lets get back to our story, in the sixties VW invaded America with a very affordable easy to fix and repair appliance car. The bug had three things going for it that allowed it to become the best selling car of all time. First, it was a distinct shape, so car owners would know their car was somehow fundamentally different then other cars. Second it was light, 1675 pounds for a 1965, 2020 pounds for the 1971 super beetle. This allowed car tuners to find these cars and turn them into 11 second ¼ mile beasts. The third reason, and most important was that brand new beetle were under $2,000 all the way up to 1972. What is amazing about this number is that in today’s dollars that only about six grand, some high end riding lawn movers cost this much.
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