Volkswagen.gif” vspace=10 width=99>The launch of Volkswagen’s D1 luxury sedan has been put back to at least mid-2002, Automotive News reported, adding that the decision will also affect the debut of the mechanically similar Audi A8 replacement.

The automotive industry newspaper says the delay is because VW is taking longer than expected to train workers at the new Dresden factory where customers will be able to visit the assembly line to see their cars built, and drive them from the track.

Such a system leaves VW no room for error, Automotive News said.

The paper quotes a VW spokesman as saying the D1, which will be offered with W12, W8 and V6 engines and two or four wheel drive, is on schedule.

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But insiders told Automotive News that the flagship was originally intended to go on sale after this September’s Frankfurt motor show.

Instead, the newspaper added, only a production-ready prototype will debut at the show. The final version will appearing at the Geneva show in March 2002 and sales will start in May.

Automotive News said the D1 delay has upset Audi which will now have to delay the A8 replacement’s launch from March next year to spring 2003 because VW does not want the A8 debut to clash with the D1, its first-ever luxury model.

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