Peter Anderson | Oct 3, 2012

A successor to Volkswagen's slow-selling Phaeton is in the works, development boss Dr Ulrich Hackenberg has confirmed in Paris this week.

The news follows reports over the past year that had pointed to a 2015 debut for the next generation of the big saloon.

Speaking with US site Inside Line, Hackenberg confirmed only that development is under way, and - unlike the previous model - the US market will be a focus.

The Phaeton was only offered in the US market until 2006 before being pulled, Volkswagen blaming a poor image and high pricing for its poor sales performance.

It was also comprehensively outsold by its blood brother, the Audi A8 as well as established rivals from BMW and Mercedes.

VW had pitched the car as a low-key alternative to the competition, but US buyers weren't convinced of the value of flying under the radar.

The new Phaeton will most likey be built on the VW Group's MLM/MLB architecture.

2011 volkswagen phaeton press photos 24

The MLM platform underpins most Audis from the A4 through to the aluminium-intensive A8, although the next A8 is expected to move to the rear-drive biased MSB.

The Phaeton will feature extensive use of aluminium to keep weight down on the super luxury sedan. The current car is steel-bodied and considered too heavy.

The new car is expected to take on Jaguar's XJ luxury sedan, so it has its work cut out.

The current car isn't sold in Australia, and this isn't likely to change for the 2015 model.

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