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Scheiterhaufen (Alex)

by on July 22, 2015

Today, we went to the VW manufacturing plant. We learned many things. First off, two cars are made here. One of them is the Volkswagen Phaeton, VW’s equivalent to the S-Class or 7-series (not sold in the United States) and the Bentley Continental Flying Spur (only the US version, the other versions are made in Crewe). They are able to make these two cars in the same factory, because they have the same body, and 97% of the Phaeton is put in by hand. This means that for the Bentleys, they just add in the other 3% by hand. So, back to the factory. Instead of moving the cars, Volkswagen moves the entire floor. There are 4 sections. Section 1 is where the car is stamped, and then starts adding the most basic elements. Some of these elements are windshields, doors, and wires. A VW employee then checks the cars, and the car gets taken to part 2. Part 2 is very unique. It is the only section that is entirely completed while the car is on an overhead track. In section 2, the spare tires are added, and pretty much anything else that is needed under the car is added. The cars can rotate 90 degrees, can be lifted down to about 1.5m above the floor, and can have a tilt of up to 60 degrees. Step 3 is for interior things (infotainment, seats, refrigerators, and everything else). The last section is the final testing. Here, cars go up to 140 kph to make sure that the smoother ride suspension works, gets lights shining on it so that employees can make sure no paint got scratched up, and all other testing requirements. 

We did hear a couple of interesting miscellaneous things during our tour. Apparently, a person from Dubai ordered 3 of the Phaetons. He had a slight problem, though. There was no right color. Even after the 8 standard colors, and the 108 Bentley colors, he could just not find the one that he had envisioned. In all fairness, if you are spending that much on a car, you should get the color you wanted. He ended up mixing 3 different colors to get the perfect shade. Another thing that we learned about was the reveal of the car. When you get your car, it is behind glass that you can not see through. Then, music starts playing, and you see a light show, with a silhouette of your car in the background. Finally, the wall drops, and you see your car. One more thing that was very interesting was the subsidiaries of VW. When you think of VW, you probably thing of the VW Bug. You probably don’t think of Bentley (which I mentioned before), Audi, Porsche, MAN, and Skoda. Just to name a few. 

Once we finished the tour (and got to sit in a couple of the cars), we went to a walking tour of Dresden.  Unfortunately, the guide was not able to come, so we were not able do the walking tour. Instead, we saw an art museum (which was surprisingly good), some churches, and a 400 foot long wall showing every king of Saxony (a former kingdom that is now a state of Germany). This is what we did today.

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