SAN FRANCISCO -- The head of Audi of America Inc. isn't surprised that Volkswagen's Phaeton sedan hasn't sold well in the United States.
"It could be the best car, but I would still not buy it because it has the VW logo and because I have to go to a VW dealership where the salesmen are used to selling Jettas and Golfs," Axel Mees said at a press event here last week.
Mees, 53, is no stranger to the luxury market. Before joining Audi on March 1, he spent 20 years with BMW AG.
"Volkswagen underestimated the weakness of their brand in the luxury segment," he said, adding that former Volkswagen AG CEO Ferdinand Piech "was an engineer and he wanted to prove that he can build great cars, and he didn't look at the marketing aspect, the brand aspect."
Through October, U.S. dealerships sold only 1,433 Phaetons. VW's original goal: 5,000 cars annually.
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