Phaeton Takes Special Spin at W Hotels

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Nov 4, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE)—Two brands known for their unique blend of style, form and function—Volkswagen and W Hotels—are teaming up to offer select Volkswagen prospects and W guests an exclusive opportunity for the ultimate test drive, by experiencing the new Phaeton from Volkswagen for a limited period before the luxury vehicle is made widely available.

Volkswagen of America, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced today the launch of a unique co-branded initiative called “Get Behind the Wheel.” The program begins on October 27, 2003 runs through February 5, 2004 at W Hotel properties in New York (W New York), Los Angeles, Chicago (W City Center) and San Francisco.

Seven new Phaetons will be available at each W Hotel property for use by guests as complimentary shuttle service, as part of guest packages, in conjunction with events and for VIPs. Volkswagen will also make the vehicles available for selected test-drives by potential customers within those markets through a unique, targeted direct mail campaign. The interior of the Phaetons will be customized to reflect the W experience. Drivers will be treated to a personal audio tour of the Phaeton featuring W & VW CDs loaded in the 6-disc changer and a selection of personal amenities in each vehicle - bringing the lifestyle of the W hotel to the VW driving experience.

Marketing support of the program will consist of direct mail and Volkswagenowner custom publishing communication, along with advertising of the partnership in select publications. Volkswagen will also provide special test drive invitations to be distributed to select W guests in-room. W, in turn, will offer a special Phaeton promotion/rate package to preferred guests along with its brand marketing support, both on property and externally.

Through VW print partners, Phaetons will also be used to help Volkswagen and W host a variety of special events such as an invitation-only book signing with contributing New Yorker humorist, Andy Borowitz; Gourmet Magazine`s Gourmet Institute; and Esquire`s “Best and the Brightest” Awards Night, where VIPs will be shuttled via Phaeton from the W - Union Square to the “Best and the Brightest” dinner.


“We are excited to have found an ideal environment such as W Hotels to help introduce such an unconventional luxury car from Volkswagen,” said Frank Maguire, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Volkswagen of America, Inc. “W Hotels` unique approach to modern luxury, comfort and service matches perfectly with Volkswagen`s spirit to challenge preconceived notions of luxury with the Phaeton.”

“The singular blend of style, innovation and luxury are inherent in the Volkswagen and W Hotels,” Ross Klein, Vice President of Marketing, Chief Marketing Officer, W Hotels Worldwide, said. “Exclusive, virtually unfettered access to the new, luxury Phaeton is the type of experiential opportunity our guests have come to expect when staying at a W Hotel.”

The 2003 Volkswagen Phaeton offers an abundance of standard appointments unprecedented in a luxury sedan. All Phaetons will feature Volkswagen`s 4Motion all wheel drive system and 4 zone climatronic controls - allowing passengers to individually control their environment. Additional features include memory controls for seating preferences, stereo and climate settings as well as an integrated infotainment system. Phaeton drivers at the W will be treated to a choice of two engine options: a 335hp 4.2L V8 or a 420hp 6.0L W12.

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, one of the world`s largest automakers. As America`s top-selling European brand, Volkswagen markets a full line of vehicles through a network of over 600 dealers in the United States.

W Hotels Worldwide, the premier lifestyle hotel brand, opened their first property in New York City in December 1998. Today there are 18 hotels in the U.S. and abroad, each a unique blend of style and substance, located in Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Sydney and Mexico City. W Hotel Montreal and W Hotels Seoul open in 2004. W Hotel and Residences in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Dallas open in 2006 and 2005, respectively. For more information and to make reservations contact: and 1.877.WHOTELS.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 740 properties in more than 80 countries and 105,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. With internationally renowned brands, Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts including: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, W brands, as well as Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit