VW's shining star has a name

Volkswagen AG's new luxury flagship sedan finally has a name: the Phaeton.

The sedan, designed as the most luxurious and expensive VW-brand car ever, was known internally during development as the D1.

VW says "Phaeton" is derived from Greek mythology and translates to "the shining one."

VW revealed the name at a ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 11, marking the beginning of production at a new assembly plant in the eastern German city of Dresden.

VW has been nudging its way into BMW and Mercedes-Benz territory as it continues to push its Passat sedan further upscale. But the Phaeton will be in a class in which no VW brand vehicle has been before.

The Phaeton will make its public debut in March at the Geneva auto show. It will cost at least $45,000 when it arrives in the United States in 2003.

The Dresden plant's 800 employees will assemble the Phaeton with a 12-cylinder gasoline engine, as well as 10-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines.

VW has invested $166 million in the plant, which will produce about 37,500 vehicles a year.

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