Would you prefer to build luxury cars in a boring old assembly plant, or in an extravagant glass building amid restaurants, art museums and entertainment centers? Volkswagen will opt for the glass palace when it launches production of its new D1 premium sedan in Dresden, Germany, next year.
VW's new Dresden plant, dubbed an 'event center,' is designed as a tourist attraction and meeting place for Dresden residents. It also will cater to luxury car buyers who desire to see their cars made within clean, white walls on wooden floors. An anonymous senior brand manager for Volkswagen described to role of the new factory as an unconventional gimmick to show VW's passion for its new luxury sector.
'Nobody is waiting for a luxury car from Volkswagen,' he said. 'We have to be better than our competitors if we want to be successful - and we have to be different.'
Different, to VW, means going beyond simple vehicle design. It means taking a 'black tie, white glove' manufacturing approach to create a luxury image for its cars. In the new plant, customers can watch and talk to workers assembling their cars. And, of course, everything is clean, including the employees' white overalls. Jobs such as painting are done elsewhere.
Skeptics have questioned whether VW should produce a luxury car, suggesting that Audi, Bugatti or Bentley would be more appropriate brands.