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All-Electric Volkswagen Phaeton Heralds VW’s Strategic Shift Following Diesel-Emissions Crisis

All-Electric Volkswagen Phaeton Heralds VW's Strategic Shift Following Diesel-Emissions Crisis

WOLFSBURG, Germany – In an apparent bid to boost its environmental credentials in the wake of the ongoing diesel-emissions scandal, Volkswagen on Tuesday announced that an all-electric Volkswagen Phaeton sedan is in the product pipeline.

“The Volkswagen Phaeton has embodied the brand’s technological competence and brand ambition from the first generation onward,” Volkswagen AG said in a statement. “The future generation of the Phaeton will once again be the flagship for the brand’s profile over the next decade.”

The Phaeton EV will lead a new VW product portfolio that features “plug-in hybrids with an even greater range, high-volume electric vehicles with a radius of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles), a 48-volt power supply system (mild hybrids) as well as ever more efficient diesel, petrol and CNG concepts,” VW said.

In addition to polishing VW’s tarnished green image, the electric Phaeton is expected to take on such competitors as the Tesla Model S sedan.

A Volkswagen of America spokesman did not respond immediately to an Edmunds query asking when the electric Phaeton will be available at Volkswagen dealerships here. No pricing has been announced.

“The specification features a pure electric drive with long-distance capability, connectivity and next-generation assistance systems as well as an emotional design,” VW said in a brief description of the future Phaeton.

At the same time, the beleagured automaker said it will reduce investment spending at the Volkswagen brand by $1.1 billion and reorient its diesel strategy by switching to a different diesel-emissions treatment technology in Europe and North America.

“Diesel vehicles will only be equipped with exhaust emissions systems that use the best environmental technology,” VW AG said.

The announcement that “the future is electric” comes as thousands of Volkswagen TDI owners in the U.S. are still waiting for word about a fix for their vehicles. The German automaker admitted that it manipulated diesel emissions control systems in as many as 482,000 diesel vehicles sold in the U.S.

The cars include the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, Passat TDI, Golf TDI, Golf SportWagen TDI, Volkswagen Beetle TDI and Volkswagen Beetle Convertible TDI.

In the meantime, VW of America has updated its microsite about the TDI crisis, providing worried owners with a new VIN Lookup Tool that lets them find out if their 2.0L TDI vehicle is affected by the emissions crisis.

Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn also sent a letter to owners last week offering a “personal and profound apology” about the crisis.

Recent data from shows that Volkswagen owners are remaining loyal to the brand.

More than half of VW diesel trade-ins (51.2 percent) went toward another Volkswagen. The loyalty rate is higher for VW diesels than for overall VW trade-ins, in which only 39 percent went toward another VW.

The VW diesel trade-ins that defected to another brand were most likely to go toward popular Japanese makes such as Toyota, Honda and Subaru.

Edmunds says: Will VW loyalists be willing to wait for an electric Phaeton as Volkswagen continues to try to get its act together?

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