Price a Bentley in America at just under a hundred grand and they won’t be able to make enough of ’em.
Price a Volkswagen at almost a hundred grand and no one will touch it, even if the only difference between the two cars is the logo on the grille. That’s the power of branding and a little thing called “perceived value.” Buyers love to feel like they got a deal, and they hate to feel like they got ripped off.
That’s why Volkswagen’s luxurious Phaeton remains a mystery. When it was for sale in the U.S., there was no value proposition. Prices started at close to $70,000 and quickly escalated. No one wanted a $100,000 car that looked like a Passat. It didn’t matter that the car was as luxurious and powerful as a Bentley. No amount of hand-crafted materials or double-stitched premium leather could overcome a poor price-to-brand value equation. Not surprisingly, the car didn’t sell here, and the Phaeton experiment was killed.
But VW wants to try again. With the exact same formula.
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