Introduced in 2002, the Volkswagen Phaeton (pronounced FAY-tən) is Volkswagen’s full-size luxury sedan. But it’s where the top-of-the-line car is assembled that arguably gets as much attention as the car.
The Phaeton is hand-assembled in an eco-friendly factory with a glass exterior, the Transparent Factory in Dresden, Germany called Gläserne Manufaktur.
The same factory assembled Bentley Continental Flying Spur vehicles destined for the European market until October 2006, when all assembly of the Bentley products was transferred to Crewe, England.
The Phaeton body is fabricated and painted at the large Volkswagen works at Zwickau, Germany, and the completed bodies are then transported about 60 miles by special road transport vehicles to the Transparent Factory. Most Phaeton engines, the W12 being the notable exception, are built at the VW/Porsche/Audi engine plant in Győr, Hungary.
The transparent factory is likely the world’s most pristine car facility. Workers wear white in what has been described as half factory, half museum.
The video below provides the rest of the story.
Article Last Updated: August 13, 2010.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.