Less a sales success in the U.S. during its run from 2004 to 2006, the Phaeton nevertheless has remained in production since then and now will be returning to America. Industry scuttlebutt has VW unveiling a 2015 model making a debut in January at the Detroit auto show -- at the insistence of Chairman Martin Winterkorn, who has declared that a brand as popular as VW needs a flagship vehicle. The Phaeton was well-reviewed in its debut appearance and was viewed as a value play. How the new car will bridge the still-yawning price gap with the rest of VW's product line -- a major stumbling block the first time around -- is yet to be determined.
The carmaker's engineering prowess couldn't insulate it from economic upheaval, earthquake, and flood. Now Honda is learning to prize broader business skills.