• Nov 9, 2010

Click above to watch the video after the jump

There are a lot of impressive things about the Volkswagen Phaeton. Like the notion that a Vee-Dub could share its underpinnings with a Bentley, and the sheer chutzpah of taking the People's Car up-market to compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and its own sister-company's Audi A8. But few factors stand out quite like the Transparent Factory.

While most automotive assembly plants are greasy behemoths sequestered off on the fringes of industrial cities, the assembly plant that puts together the Phaeton (as well as the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, until its transfer to Crewe in 2006) stands as a squeaky-clean, glassed-in pantheon to the automobile right in the heart of downtown Dresden, Germany.

Volkswagen developed a number of brilliant technologies for use in the factory, from the moving wood floor and electronically-tracked nuts and bolts to the magnet-driven robots that shuttle the parts around the facility and the cargo tram that delivers them there. All of this and more is on display to visitors as well as customers coming to take delivery directly on premises. It's a wonder to behold: Discovery's MegaWorld series went by to check it out, and you can too with the video after the jump. Thanks for the tip, RosenBrodi!


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  • 38 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Actually, the factories for most German car companies are similar to this one. They're extremely clean, very well managed and highly automated factories.

      Not all have wood floors and glass walls, but take away some of the high design and you'd be looking at pretty much any German factory.
      • 4 Years Ago
      After viewing this video, it's hard to classify auto manufacturing as a pillar of the old "smokestack industry". Their factory floor is probably cleaner than most people's kitchens.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Unlike the Ford's River Rouge manufacturing complex, where iron ore and raw rubber went in one end and finished cars came out the other, this is only an assembly plant. All the smokestack emissions are produced at factories elsewhere, then the finished components are shipped to Volkswagen's transparent factory for final assembly. This factory may be clean, but I'm sure there are plenty of other factories making Phaeton components that still have plenty of smokestacks.
      • 4 Years Ago
      it's cool place to be, i have been there, and got an exclusive tour of the facility on a sunday when the line was shut, so got the chance to get into places only the workers usually do.

      the car might have had its teething issues, and the design might not set hearts on fire, but i like it, and if i ever am in the market for an over-sized sedan, this would be my pick. you get everything you get in other luxury cars, without the look at me factor, i love it...
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a nonsense. Cars and trucks are meant to be build the old-fashion way: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/09/24/followup-chrysler-workers-caught-drinking-during-lunch-suspende/
      • 4 Years Ago
      Another of Ferdinand Piech's grand delusions.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Quite impressive.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Robot parts delivery trams were in use in 1995 at the Chrysler electronics plant in Huntsville, Alabama.
      Every auto assembly plant I have ever seen was clean.
      There is little new here.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Amazing piece of marketing but why the heel people doesn´t buy Phaeton?
      Because for the same money you can buy a Premium brand that VW will never be.
      This factory and this car is a dream of Piech...nothing else.
      Forgot to tell..this car is mainly a company car for the big VW decision makers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "why the heel people doesn´t buy Phaeton?" - because with more money you can buy a Bentley, which is the same car, but you can brag about the fact that you own a "real" luxury car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've been there when I spent some time in Dresden for business. Beautiful city, by the way. One thing that's less noticeable is how quiet it is. All the tools are electric rather than air, for example. It's a pretty incredible place.
      proofmaui
      • 4 Years Ago
      Whether or not the video is "old news", whatever the "real story" about the Phaeton is, this factory is a wonderful thing put together by humans who care very intimately about what they are producing, and want to share it openly with the rest of us. And I say Hallelujah to all involved in making it happen.
      Fun and Consciousness
      • 4 Years Ago
      This story gets regurgitated every few months.

      Can you interns think of anything else more interesting?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd rather buy a Scirocco there
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