• Jan 25th 2008 at 8:46AM
  • 5


Who says car factories have to be dirty? Volkswagen built a car factory in the middle of the city of Dresden called the Transparent Factory. The factory actually replaced a convention center and attracts tourists and people wanting to buy a car. The factory workers wear white, there is no pollution and the car production process is visible with glass everywhere.

As you can see in the video above, the car plant uses the city's street car networks to deliver the car parts. McLaren has another very clean building that you would be surprised actually made cars. There is a video of that plant below the fold.

Can you imagine a future where American's rust belt is a clean, modern, tourist attraction?

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[Source: YouTube, Google Video]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 5 Comments
      • 7 Months Ago
      You fail to mention that this particular factory produces only the VW Phaeton, a high-end vehicle that is assembled in low unit volume, exclusively by hand. The model has essentially flopped and the whole plant is now a very expensive PR exercise. It continues to operate only because VW received very generous financial incentives for choosing Dresden as the site for the plant - along with obligations to keep it running no matter what.

      Once unit volume does goes up, running an auto plant in the middle of a residential area becomes a major headache. For example, Porsche's core plant in Zuffenhausen (a suburb of Stuttgart) has reported difficulties in developing emissions equipment for the US market because of poor local air quality. Also, nearby residents obtained a noise-related injunction when Porsche tried to run an extra shift at night for a while.
      • 7 Months Ago
      Well the Dresden Transparent Factory is the production site of various expensive upper class cars from the volkswagen group. The Phaeton (wich was the big flop) is just a part of the factories production. VW decided to build some Bentley models (Contintal Flying Spur and Continatal GT)in their Dresden Factory. So they still have some income from the cars they produce in Dresden. The other great part of income is visitors, tourists and special events. For very expensive cars something like that can work very good.
      • 7 Months Ago
      @ Lascelles -

      the Dresden plant is a very unusual case. However, factories inside city limits were common in Western Europe through the 1960s because few could afford to own cars until then. In most of Eastern Europe, greenfield sites far from city centers didn't become viable until the 1990s because workers couldn't get there.

      The Porsche plant in Zuffenhausen was originally at the edge of that town, but has since been engulfed by it. Similarly, Fiat famously operated an oval test track on top of its Lingotto factory in Turin from 1923 until production there ended in 1982.
      • 7 Months Ago
      rgseidl, I am shocked you can have a car factory in the city at all. I would expect problems from the first few factories. I think the most important thing is we learn from them. For example, sharing the street car rails is a really great idea. More cities should do it. I am sure, in time, all the problems will be solved and high volume, noiseless, car factories will be apart of modern cities.
      • 7 Months Ago
      Define "Factory".

      This sounds more like "Final assembly plant" than Ford's "Cradle-to-grave", raw materials in one end and cars out the other factories. The reason this "factory" doesn't produce pollution is because they don't melt down steel to cast engine blocks and body parts. The reason they don't "hide" anything is because there's nothing left in the process to hide. No hazardous-to-the-eyes welding or casting, no toxic painting or smelting. All *that* stuff is done in real factories elsewhere, where they spew forth coal and VOC emissions from huge smokestacks.

      This is the reason that the rust belt will never be a clean tourist destination. That's where all the dirty work gets done!