Take A Factory Tour Of Germany’s Famous Automobiles
If there’s something that Germany is famous for — apart from its delectable sausage and excellent beer — it’s cars! And when you visit Germany, even if it’s not to buy a new Mercedes or BMW, you can still take in the car culture with a factory tour at one of the famous manufacturers.
Visit the BMW factory in the city of Regensburg, which is in the Upper Palatinate. About 10,000 people work at this plant where they have produced 3 million of some of the finest series of BMW, since 1986, like the Series 1, 3, M3 and even some specialized cars for police use.
There’s a two-hour tour for visitors and car-enthusiasts to see the inner workings of the BMW plant. The tour will take you along the assembly lines, as you watch the different pieces of the car be melded by the robots on the conveyor belts.
And, if this isn’t enough BMW action for you, then be sure to visit the official BMW Museum in Munich. The building is shaped like a huge bowl and features interesting facts about the past, present and future of this famous machine.
The Mercedes-Benz factory can be found near Stuttgart, in the lesser-known town of Sindelfingen. The plant offers a two-hour tour of its facilities where you can see the making of a Mercedes with a front-row view. There’s more robots and assembly lines here, building incredible machines at an unbelievable rate of speed.
This factory has a reputation as one of the world’s most reliable auto plants. Whereas most factories report 118 errors per 100 cars, Mercedes-Benz in Sindelfingen had just 33 errors.
Like BMW, there is also a museum dedicated to everything Mercedes. The Mercedes museum in Stuttgart houses some of the world’s oldest cars, including (naturally!) the first-ever Mercedes. Race cars, limousines and sports cars from throughout the 20th century are all on display here.
This other world-famous car company has two factories that can be visited on your tour to Germany. And both are certain to leave you not only better-informed but also impressed. Volkswagen has one of its factories, the Autostadt, in Wolfsburg. This auto plant is the largest of its kind in the whole world (according to VW)! With 23,000 employees, 75 km (46 mi) of road, 4,000 cars produced a day and well over 1,000 robots, their claims seem to be well-founded. Volkswagen says that the entire country of Monaco could fit within its borders.
In addition to size, it also boasts some excellent amenities, including a large butcher shop that reputedly produces over one million currywurst every year. You can take a 50-minute tour via panorama train to learn more.
Not to be outdone by the behemoth Autostadt, Dresden’s Transparent Factory is equally impressive but in an entirely different way. The Transparent Factory aims to be elegant and beautiful as the plant where the VW Phaeton is produced. With glass walls and a location right next to the Botanical Gardens, the Transparent Factory combines aesthetics with quality vehicles.
Both this factory and the Autostadt were designed by the same architect, Dr. Gunter Henn.
Porsche’s web site offers virtual tours of its manufacturing plants on its Web site. You can visit the real factory in Leipzig as well but you must make an advanced booking in order to go.
If you don’t have the foresight to make a reservation, you can still get the fast-paced experience with a visit to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. There are over eighty different interesting cars on display here, including the world’s first hybrid car produced in 1900. You can catch a glimpse of the Porsche production line here with a visit to the museum’s workshop.
Head to the city of Ingolstadt to visit the headquarters of Audi. This Audi plant has the distinction of being their biggest facility, as well as the corporate HQ.
The tours here are given in German as well as English and are about two hours long. You’ll get a great idea of the behind the scenes workings of a car manufacturing plant and you can choose which part of the plant you’d like to tour. Decide among the body shop, paint shop or the production line when you book your tour.
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