Volkswagen‘s Dresden manufacturing facility – the ‘Transparent Factory’ (“Gläserne Manufaktur”) is to be realigned as a showcase for ‘electromobility and digitalisation’ following the ending of Phaeton manufacture there.

The new showcase opens to visitors on April 8. VW says that visitors will be able to “experience the future of mobility at close quarters in a playful, interactive and informative way”. From March 29, the Transparent Factory will be closed for 10 days for modifications.

Phaeton manufacture at Dresden has finished after 14 years. The car was controversial and many said that a high-end luxury car was inappropriate for the VW brand. However, it was also something that long standing VW patriarch Ferdinand Piech was a big supporter of.  

“Our D-class employees in Zwickau and Dresden have demonstrated outstanding manufacturing expertise with the Phaeton over the past 14 years. This know-how is also well known and highly valued at other facilities of the Volkswagen Brand and the Group,” said Prof. Dr. Siegfried Fiebig, Speaker of the Management Board of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH.

The Dresden location’s Works Council Chairman Thomas Aehlig said: “The production of the highest-quality vehicles should be resumed here under the eyes of customers and visitors in the near future. This is what the workforce and this unique facility deserve. Until then, the deployment of our colleagues to other locations will call for considerable flexibility.”

VW said the jobs of the permanent workforce at the Dresden facility are secure. About 100 employees will continue to work in Dresden. The other 400 employees will mainly be assigned to Zwickau or to other Group locations.

A new model to replace the Phaeton – or a next generation Phaeton – is expected to be made at Dresden from 2018. Volkswagen has said that it will create another flagship model for the brand. It said in a statement last year that the specification for the new vehicle includes “pure electric drive with long-distance capability, connectivity and next- generation assistance systems as well as an emotional design”.

The new model is likely to be sold in North America – the current car was withdrawn at the end of that region’s 2006 model year due to poor sales.

The vehicle will supposedly share many modules with the next Audi A8 and S8. There are also reports that the car’s entry-point price will be lowered.