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PlatinumGLS October 22nd, 2003 19:47

C&D\'s Virtual Tour of VW\'s Transparent Factory
Car & Driver's Virtual Tour of VW's Transparent Factory
We visit this glass house, home of the new Phaeton. Sure enough, nobody¹s throwing stones.
September 2003

Volkswagen aspires to become a full-line manufacturer, with products ranging from the smallest subcompacts to the largest luxury cars, and the VW Phaeton is the latest example of the brand’s upward mobility. In a bid to prove to customers that this luxury car is indeed different from all the others, the company has set up a factory, at a cost of some 186 million euros (roughly $208,000,000 at current exchange rates) that is unique in all the world. The building is located in the heart of Dresden, Germany, an 800-year-old city known for its arts and craftsmanship. The factory’s walls are made almost entirely of glass — over 290,000 square feet of it. Its floors are covered entirely in Canadian maple. And its layout is visitor-friendly, set up to receive, per day, 250 tourists (by advance reservation at 5 euros each), customers, or prospects (gratis). There are no smokestacks, no loud noises, and no toxic byproducts. Parts arrive, and luxury cars depart. It looks to us like the most expensive way to build cars since Cadillac conceived of an assembly line for the Allanté that included a ride on a 747 between the start of construction in Italy and the finish in Detroit, but if the process convinces customers they’re getting something special, maybe it’s worth the added expense. We had an opportunity to tour the facility, and get answers to some frequently asked questions while we were there.

Start the tour here:;page_number=1

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