My visit to Volkswagen’s Gläserne Manufaktur in Dresden

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay


Home to German carmaker Volkswagen’s luxury sedan Phaeton, the Transparent Factory (Gläserne Manufaktur) in Dresden is the only place in the world that assembles the Phaeton. The name of this Transparent Factory has a double meaning to it, referring to both optical transparency of the all-glass factory and also the transparency of the production process. Only the final assembling is done here though – the stamping, welding and painting of the steel bodies take place in Zwickau where the painted car bodies are then taken to the Transparent Factory by truck. Officially opened on 11 December 2001, the Transparent Factory cost 186 million Euros to be constructed and it has a 40-metre 16-storey cylindrical vehicle tower that can store 280 vehicles. These vehicles are all awaiting owners’ collection, as the Phaeton is only made-to-order and there is no inventory for it. The Phaeton is a very special car as it is really customised to your preference and specifications. About 800 engineers – male and female – come to work at 5.30 am and work on the cars until about 3.50 pm. What I liked about the environment is how atypical it is of a car factory. It’s bright, clean, airy, spacious and more like a shopping mall or a showroom rather than a production facility.

And there’s this huge Kugelhaus in the middle of the factory, as a tribute to the world’s first Kugelhaus that was in Dresden between 1928 to 1938. You can actually go inside this one to watch promotional films on Volkswagen models over the decades. I like Dresden for its tranquility and peace – I was a bit freaked out when I learnt of its history (all the bombardments during WWII) but it still doesn’t change the fact that it’s a beautiful place. The second day was a test drive of the VW Phaeton TDI and WW12, in and around Dresden, as well as out of Dresden and even on the Autobahn! On the Autobahn!! I only went up to about 180km/h though…
I have a lot more photos to share and a lot more stories to tell, but I have to work on my eight-page feature on this trip now so I will save the story-telling for another time alright? :)

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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