VW Autostadt

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The VW Autostadt (Auto City) is a VW group attraction at the VW Wolfsburg factory. According to VW this is the biggest car plant in the world and produced 836,000 cars in 2014 – which is a lot considering there were about 1,000,000 cars sold in Australia in 2014. There are over 50,000 staff here. Unfortunately when we visited the plant was closed for the Christmas New Year’s break so we couldn’t visit the plant.

The Autostadt features an exhibition which shows the process for the design and building of cars in the VW group. In this exhibition a number of production cars have been cut through at various stages of the production process. I am pretty sure that if I had a Bentley (or a Lamborghini, Porsche Panamera or a VW Golf GTI for that matter) I would not be cutting a big chunk out of it – but each to their own.

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We even got to design our own cars.

Inside here where it was nice and warm was a big play area as well as kids’ driving simulators and a number of different vehicles that the kids enjoyed riding.

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There is also a very impressive car museum here that is filled with some really iconic cars.

Each of the manufacturers (excluding Bentley and Bugatti) in the group have a pavilion here showcasing their cars, some better than others.

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Lamborghini put on a presentation every 30 minutes in their pavilion. We had to run to get there on time but it turned out to be the most bizarre light and sound show which culminated in the Lamborghini that was mounted on a big turntable on the wall “disappear” through the wall. It was very strange and we all kind of looked at each other in disbelief at the end.

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Now you see it.

 

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Now you don’t

 

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Part of the philosophy of the Autostadt is to include art and architecture into the whole experience (we put the Lamborghini experience down to art) so there are some interesting buildings and some interesting art interpretations.

One of the over-the-top art installations was the Premium Club, which was a pavilion dedicated to a chrome Bugatti Veyron.

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If you buy a VW in Europe you can choose to visit the Autostadt and collect your car there. The cars that are to be delivered this way are stored in one of two glass car towers so you can watch your car be picked out of this tower by an automated lift and then delivered to the customer showroom. We didn’t buy a VW but we still had the opportunity to visit the towers.

During the visit you sit in a glass cube and are carried up to the top of the tower by the mechanism that moves the cars around. It was a great way to see how the process worked as we made our way up the 48 metres through the 400 car spaces in the tower.

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The view from the top allows you to look over the factory, which is unsurprisingly huge and includes 3 power stations, and the town of Wolfsburg which exists only because of the factory.

After our day at the Autostadt we headed back to Max (we were able to camp at a dedicated camp spot in the car park) and had some dinner.

But the day was not over yet. After collecting the kids’ Ice Skates (yes we bought ice skates – 10 Euros at Aldi) and some more warm clothes we headed back to the Autostadt and the Christmas Market and Ice rink. The rink was a huge outdoor one, set up on one of the lagoons. Us oldies hired some skates and we all had a great time finding our feet and getting better and better. The rink was very busy to begin with, but after 2 ½ hours when it was due to close at 10pm we had the place to ourselves which was nice. Only the boys had crashes, maybe we got a little too comfortable.

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The girls met and talked to a couple of local girls. It has been great for them to meet different teenagers around Europe and swap emails etc. and then keep in touch with each other.

The Autostadt proved to be an interesting and fun place to visit. We were all pretty tired after our day – the next morning Legoboy did not wake up until about 10:15.

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