VW Vortex - Volkswagen Forum banner
21 - 40 of 117 Posts

·
Registered
'94 Corrado/ '07 997tt/ '18 GC SRT
Joined
·
28,806 Posts
Re: A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden (hiegear2)

Great pics! I wasn't aware how surgically precise and clean the whole process of phaeton production actually is. A special car derserves a special factory!

So is the phaeton the only car in it's class that's handbuilt? I'm really surprised this tidbit of info isn't brought up more often in the popular press. I think this would be a signficant piece of information. Probably a stupid question, but are either the v8 or W12 motors hand assembled like the AMG cars? How about production of the body? It was mentioned that the body was assembled elsewhere, along with the CGT, are there any hand-formed body panels on either car?
The more I learn about the the phaeton the more in-awe I become! Stunning automobile.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,490 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Re: A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden (6cylVWguy)

Quote, originally posted by 6cylVWguy »
...are either the v8 or W12 motors hand assembled like the AMG cars? How about production of the body? It was mentioned that the body was assembled elsewhere, along with the CGT, are there any hand-formed body panels on either car?

I'm not really sure how or where the engines are assembled. It's possible that they are made at one of VW's purpose-specific engine plants, such as the plant in Chemnitz. The Phaeton bodywork (carosserie) is built in Zwickau/Mosel. As far as I know, there is very little hand-work involved in the production of the carosserie. The precision of measurement for the Phaeton bodywork is in the order of 10ths of a single millimeter, and it is impossible to achieve that precision by hand. Most of the work is, I understand, done by CNC machines and then aligned by laser systems, prior to welding or bonding. Whatever the process used is, it is the same for both the Phaeton and the Bentley, as they are built in the same hall.
Both the engine plant in Chemnitz and the very large manufacturing facility in Mosel are part of Volkswagen Sachsen, which is the company that oversees much of the production in Saxony. It is interesting and amusing to note that the Phaeton and Bentley bodywork are built at the very same site that was for many years the manufacturing plant of the Trabant, prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain. I don't think VW mentions this in their promotional material. I visited the Mosel plant in November 2004 - about the only thing that remains from the Trabant era are the trees in the forest surrounding the factory, everything else has been newly built since 1990.
Michael
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Re: A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden (PanEuropean)

According to the manufacturer 'window sticker' from my car, the engine (V8) was built in Hungary; transmission built in Germany..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,490 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
Re: A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden (versatec95)

Correct, the V6 and V8 engines are built in Győr, Hungary, at a very large Audi-operated plant. It is a very modern factory, the first part of it was opened in the mid 1990s but in the last few years it has expanded quite a bit. I have visited it, but they do not offer public tours. They also make the Audi TT at this same factory - but their main activity is making engines.
Michael
A poster from the engine factory in Gyõr
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Re: A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden (PanEuropean)

For new cars sold in the US, a 'Parts Content' summary is now required on the window sticker. My Phaeton V8 sticker indicates:
"For Vehicles in this Carline"
U.S./Canadian Parts Content = 1%
Major Sources of Foreign Parts Content (non-U.S./Canada):
Germany = 75%
Hungary = 15%
"For this Vehicle"
Final Assembly Point: Dresden, Germany
Country of Origin:
Engine - Hungary
Transmission - Germany
I guess the engine is considered ~15% of the car?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,942 Posts
Re: A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden (versatec95)

Quote, originally posted by versatec95 »
For new cars sold in the US, a 'Parts Content' summary is now required on the window sticker. My Phaeton V8 sticker indicates:
"For Vehicles in this Carline"
U.S./Canadian Parts Content = 1%
Major Sources of Foreign Parts Content (non-U.S./Canada):
Germany = 75%
Hungary = 15%
"For this Vehicle"
Final Assembly Point: Dresden, Germany
Country of Origin:
Engine - Hungary
Transmission - Germany
I guess the engine is considered ~15% of the car?

well, the motor, most of the hoses, and such...but the V8 assembled for the Phaeton is out of the same plant as our beloved touareg, so maybe a reflash will give the t-reg the 335HP? As I dive deeper into the VW site that shows its world wide plants....(www.volkswagen-environment.de) it shows nothing in Hungary......a couple in Poland, belgium, spain, portugal, and of course, germany.....who is the V8 made by?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,490 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
Re: A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden (CapoVWSales)

Glad my VW has a genuine VW engine in it - photo below.
I wonder what the 1% USA content in the Phaeton is? Do you think they count the navigation acceptance screen and the 5 pounds of legal warnings in the Owner Manual as 'content'?
Michael
W12 Engine

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,273 Posts
Re: A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden (PanEuropean)

I would give my right arm to be able to drive one of these cars for an hour....wow.....
It makes my 1990 Jetta GLI and 2003 New Beetle GLX seem inferior....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,490 Posts
Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Re: A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden (digifant_gli)

Just ask your dealer to give you the demonstrator as a service loaner next time you bring your NB in for an oil change. I think most dealers would be quite happy to do that, assuming you are not 19 years old, and you don't have a chip and set of racing slicks on whatever you bring in for service.
Michael
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,490 Posts
Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Re: A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden (PanEuropean)

Oooops - I just checked your profile, and see that you are 18 years old - I am very sorry, my face is red.

Michael
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
My trip to the Transparent Factory

Hello,
I wanted to give everyone a brief update of my trip to the factory for a private tour that was arranged by VWofA.
Background: I was in the process of buying (or trying to buy) a Phaeton a few months ago. I wanted a four seat V8 with all of the options in Black with a Tan interior. My dealer was able to find one on a boat that was already on the way and so I started the process of getting financing numbers, etc. Needless to say, VWofA or the dealer (could not figure out who) did not want to switch the 17" wheels for the no-cost 18" - so the deal was lost.
In the meanwhile, I googled looking for more information about the car and found VWVortex. My obession became complete ;-). I spent the next few weeks posting questions, reading stories and getting to know more about the car and the passion that the car seems to generate. I am a long time Macintosh user - so I am used to people being so passionate about their choice and not taking the same road as others (I use a Windows machine at work - so before I get everyone enraged with the macintosh people being more passionate ;-)).
PanEuropean gave me some advice on setting up a trip and since I spend a good amount of time in Europe, I was able to make some changes to my last trip to fly into Frankfurt - from there a quick 5 hour train ride to Dresden.
Arrival:
Upon arriving in Dresden at the train station, VW arranged to have a driver waiting for me. I was expecting a Phaeton but instead they had this business limo which looked like a giant minivan. I was a little disappointed at first, but when the driver popped the door with his keyfob and the door rolled back - I was amazed. The first thing that I noticed was that it had four seats in the back - two facing another two. The second thing that I noticed were that they were the same seats as the Phaeton - except in seude. The next thing that I noticed is that it had the same console as the four seat Phaeton. In other words, the interior was amazing. It had buttons for a tray that popped out of the side wall - another button for a drop down LCD (much larger than the headrest one in the Phaeton)... I asked the driver - Billy - how much the van was - and he said something like 120K euro - that would be about 145K here in the states - I can see why they are not selling it here. I don't think that people would spend that much - but if it were the price of the Phaeton ;-). The engine was a V6 - which I thought might be underpowered for a van of that size - but it seemed to work.
The Factory
The next morning my wife and I took a taxi over to the factory. Five minutes later, we walked into the lobby and noticed about 30 people waiting to begin a tour. I checked in with the reception and I was escorted upstairs to a waiting room which many will know from this website. The room contained the leather and paint chips and had a computer in which you could drag items under a sensor and the car displayed on the screen would change. Pretty cool stuff.
It was at this point that I realized that I had a private tour and would not be joining the group. The person from VW who delivered the tour (I have to get her name from her business card) was excellent. She spoke perfect English (which was important because I only know a few words in German - hamburger and frankfurter being the majority of them) and we entered a discussion about the factory and how it was built and what I expected of the tour. After explaining how I would like to be able to order a few individual items - she was suprised that I could not order them directly from the dealer. She showed me a catalog with pictures of the different customizations - including a yellow phaeton with an equally terrible interior - which is nothing to be proud of - except to say that they would do any type of customization.
We then went downstairs to start the tour. I don't know how to explain this except that the entire factory was quieter than my house is at this moment. I was able to have a conversation the entire time and I was suprised at the lack of noise - almost any noise - in the entire factory.
The entire assembly line is powered by induction - everything is under the floor - power is supplied by that magnetics. The factory has two robots only - one to put the spare tire wheel well in the trunk and the other to install the windshield. Most of the components are built by subcontracting companies and put together in the factory. The cars arrive already painted with the doors on them. The doors are removed and the car begins the first of four phases of assembly.
Two hours later... ;-)
I was amazed. I felt small compared to the brains that assembled this plant - the robots and the building. A few years ago, I was invited to Calfornia to tour the NeXT Computer plant and I left there feeling amazed. Empty mother boards would start at one end of the factory - automated chip inserts would do 200 chips a minute - and a completed machine would exit the other end waiting for the only human to clean and pack the machine. That was a humbling moment - but this was even more so. I watched the two robots for about 10 minutes each - how graceful and exacting they were. It was like a dance - the way that the windshield robot would measure the car - then measure the windshield - apply hot glue to the windshield and insert the windshield.
After the tour we went to lunch at the resturant in the factory. I invited my tour guide to sit with us - I was very interested to hear more about the factory and VW in general. After a very fancy lunch - the head of the factory came in to have lunch at the next table. My tour guide explained that the man was loved by his workers and I could feel the respect from everyone in the room. It was impressive - and I was impressed. This man controlled the entire factory which was so well run it could have been a clock. Nothing was out of place and it made you believe that the car was not only well made - but it was a more viable answer to the more expensive MB and BMW - because not only was the car less money - it was even better made...
After lunch (which I was not allowed to pay for - thanks VW ;-)), we went upstairs back to the room to spec out my car. I added all of the options that I wanted including the better leather chairs (we only get the preforated) and wood steering wheel - I was ready to go back to the hotel to pack up my things for the train ride back to Frankfurt. The printer was not working and I did not get my print out - with my order codes (which I am going to try to order here in the US.)
The one thing that I did not mention above is that when I first arrived - I was talking to the tour guide (I promise to get her name here - I have to unpack my luggage first) is that we were talking about the car and the community on the internet - specifically VWVortex. PanEuropean's name came up as one of the most knowledgeable people outside of VW on the Phaeton - and I was not the one to mention the name. PanEuropean has their respect and mine as well ;-)
I bought a few things at the front desk including a brochure of the transparent factory which I am going to disassemble at work and PDF it here to the board. It is impressive. I also bought a model of the Phaeton for home along with a bunch of smaller phaetons for my family. I have to make them suffer for my obession. I also bought a lighter for my wife - how romantic am I...
2006 cars are being made on the line now. I was told that the engine was the only thing that changed on the 12 cyl. I already emailed my dealer and was told that they don't have pricing or the ability to order a 2006. I was also told that DVD navigation along with a refresh was planned for 07. I would guess that is when the car will look more like the passat.
We did talk about the bentley and I did not realize that it is 30 or 60 cm larger than the phaeton. I saw the short wheel base and realized that it looked better than the long wheel base (in my opinon). The back door does not have the same cut. I like them both - but hte swb looked more graceful to my eye..
I hope that I did not bore everyone here. I had my camera with me but never took it out to take a single picture. I was so amazed with the tour that it never crossed my mine.
Keith
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
260 Posts
Re: My trip to the Transparent Factory (kmartin)

Amazing writeup! I'm sure you had a great time there! Perhaps I would make one of my holidays a pure Dresden Transparent Factory obsession package...

And yes, Michael does have a unmatched knowledge of the car. Kudos to him. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
The limo that picked you up at the train station - was it a limo version of the Phaeton? I'm really interested at seeing that!
Once again thanks for sharing your experience!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Re: My trip to the Transparent Factory (Mirage11)

I liked Frankfurt better - but that is just me. There seems to be a big party planned for next year in dresden - 800 years celebration. That might be interesting to head over to..
The limo was a not a phaeton. I am looking on the web to find more information on it. I found it. It is called the Multivan. The model that I was picked up in was the Business. Check out this link http://www.vwn.de/multivan/deu....html and click on the link called Der Multivan business - the flash shows the interior of the van - with the Phaeton seats...
Michael - is that his name ;-)
Yes - I had a great time and I would recommend the visit to anyone who is going to be in the area..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,490 Posts
Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Re: My trip to the Transparent Factory (kmartin)

Hi Keith:
I'm really happy to hear that your visit to Dresden went so well. It is a wonderful, beautiful city (even without thinking about the Transparent Factory), and every time I go to the Transparent Factory, I get 're-energized' - because it is really an example of perfection in every respect, full of people who are passionate about their work.
My guess is that you met Herr Stefan Schulte, who is Manager of Manufacturing and Marketing. There is a picture of him on the thread about the Phaeton Owner GTG in Germany that took place last month.
All of the Transparent Factory staff who have any contact with the public speak English - everyone, without exception. Also, most people in the the former DDR (East Germany) who were 10 to 12 years of age or younger when Germany re-integrated in 1991 also speak English well, because it is the second language taught in the school system. This means that a visitor who only speaks English should not be the least bit concerned about planning a trip to Dresden. Whenever I am in Dresden, I use English all the time - at the hotel, in shops, and anytime I am in the Transparent Factory. (I have found that all I have to do is say about 3 words in the Swiss-German dialect I speak, and that is enough to make 80 year old grandmothers switch over to English...
)
In April of 2005, some of the Phaeton forum members who post here met at the Phaeton Owner GTG in Auburn Hills, MI , and we discussed the possibility of North American Customers placing orders for Phaeton trim and options that are not offered as part of the 'standard' choices within the North American Region (NAR). The Volkswagen of America Managers who were our hosts indicated that they would allow us to do this, as long as the options or trim that we wanted did not cause any conflict with the safety legislation (referred to as 'homogulation') in either the USA or Canada. This was very good news to us, and so far, one forum member has an order placed for a Phaeton with a custom interior. His vehicle is being built at this time.
To my knowledge, there is not yet a formal, documented process that explains how to place an order for a Phaeton with equipment that is not a standard order option within NAR. So, here is how I suggest you go about placing your order. Do keep in mind that I am not a VW employee, just an enthusiastic owner, so this is not "official" advice.
1) Find an enthusiastic VW dealer who is keen to work with you. It sounds like you have already done this.
2) Make arrangements through that dealer to visit the Transparent Factory in Dresden. You have done that, too, but for the benefit of others who may want to repeat this process, the best way for the dealer to go about making arrangements is for the dealer to call Phaeton Customer Care, at the published toll-free number, 1-877-PHAETON.
3) Go to Dresden, decide on everything that you want. You have to be sort of 'self-governing' concerning North American safety regulations. In other words, be aware that anything that changes the chassis or engine from NAR spec can't be chosen (e.g. no SWB Phaetons, no TDI engines, no deletion of the full size spare, which is required for rear impact protection). In principle, anything that is 'interior trim' is OK, although there are some pretty obscure NHTSA safety regulations that might trip you up by surprise. For example, you can't order cloth seats, because they have not been tested for 'bum friction' to ensure that the occupant does not slide forward and submarine in the event of a frontal impact accident.
4) Get a list of the option and production codes for the Phaeton you want from the staff at the Transparent Factory. This will be a list of 3 character codes (letter-number combinations). Give this list to your dealer in North America.
5) Have your dealer in North America contact Phaeton Customer Care (again), and PCC will put your dealer in touch with the correct people at the VW head office. Once that is done, your dealer can talk to them, and place the order for your Phaeton exactly as you have specified it. It then takes about 2 to 3 months for the car to arrive. It will be built fairly quickly, the delay is mostly in shipping, not in production.
You will have to sort the pricing process out with your dealer once you get back, because the Dresden staff don't know what the North American prices are. What I did, before I first went to Dresden to place a custom order back in September of 2004, was to agree with my dealer on the price of the 'basic Phaeton' (a Phaeton configured as close as possible to what I wanted using the North American options), and then agreed with my dealer that he would charge me whatever his cost was for the 'extra', non-standard, European options, plus a fixed percentage markup on these extra options. That got all the financial stuff sorted out and out of the way before I even left for Dresden.
It's also reasonable that your dealer may want a fairly significant down payment (deposit) before he or she orders the custom car for you. This is to protect them, in case you cannot complete the transaction for some unforeseen reason. I told my dealer I would put down 10% of the purchase price of the car, plus 100% of the purchase price of the extra options. We both felt comfortable with that. In the end, though, the V8 I had specified in Dresden was about the same price as a W12 that my dealer had in stock - and the only options missing on the in-stock W12 was some additional leather trim I wanted - so I bought the in-stock W12. But, I'm glad I made the trip to Dresden anyway.
Let us know how the ordering process goes for you - we are all sort of pioneers at this. Don't underestimate the tremendous contribution that the staff at Phaeton Customer Care can make. Although they are not normally involved in the process of buying and ordering Phaetons (they are mostly after-sale support, I think), all the staff at PCC were in attendance at our meeting in Auburn Hills, and they can help direct you or your dealer to the right people within VW to get your custom-made Phaeton ordered easily.
Michael


Modified by PanEuropean at 3:45 PM 6-12-2005
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,490 Posts
Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Re: My trip to the Transparent Factory (PanEuropean)

Here are some other threads that relate to what we have been discussing here:
About the Transparent Factory:
A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden
Official Transparent Factory Website (hover your mouse over the word 'deutsch', and a drop-down menu will appear, allowing you to change the language to English)
About VW Individual, and Phaeton options that are not normally offered in North America:
VW Individual Atelier at the Transparent Factory
North American orders via VW Individual (an older discussion, Keith's original post)
European Options List, VW Individual Offerings List
VW Individual Phaeton Interiors - some photos
Phaeton Forum Table of Contents (see the first post, at the top)
Standard North American Colour and Option Lists
About the various owner get-togethers that have taken place:
Phaeton Owner GTG in Auburn Hills, MI - April 23 and 24, 2005
Phaeton Owner GTG - Dresden, Germany May 20, 21, 2005
About planning a trip to Dresden:
City of Dresden - tourism guide
Saxony tourism guide (Saxony is the 'state' that Dresden is located in)
Hilton Dresden (my favourite place to stay - close to the Transparent Factory, but right in the heart of the city)
Hope this gets you started....

Michael
 
21 - 40 of 117 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top