Transparent Factory is the English name of an automobile production plant owned by German carmaker Volkswagen and opened in 2002. The original German name is Gläserne Manufaktur (glass manufacture). Both the German and English names are a word play on the double meaning of transparent, referring to both optical transparency and transparency of the production process.
The main purpose of the factory is the assembly of Volkswagen's luxury sedan, the Phaeton and Bentley's Continental Flying Spur (since 2005).
The Transparent Factory is situated in the city center of Dresden, the 800-year-old German baroque city known for its arts and craftsmanship. It stands at the former location of the convention center. The factory's walls are made almost competely of glass. Its floors are covered entirely in Canadian maple. And its layout is visitor-friendly, set up to receive 250 tourists per day. There are no smokestacks, no loud noises, and no toxic byproducts.
The transparent factory handles final assembly only. All the smelly, noisy operations, such as stamping and welding and then painting the steel body, take place in Zwickau. Painted bodies arrive at the factory by truck. The other 1200 parts and 34 preassembled components are shipped to a remote logistics center and are transferred from there to the factory via trams that run on Dresden's public transport tracks.