European Travel and the Coronavirus
Car Towers and Delivery Center
From: Volkswagen's Autostadt
Visiting the Car Towers
Volkswagen's Autotürme, or car towers, are distinguishing features of the Autostadt. The transparent cylindrical buildings rise 48 meters or 150 feet above the grounds, and they're linked by a fully automated delivery system to both the Volkswagen factory and the KundenCenter (where VW customers pick up their new cars).
The car towers work like giant vending machines: As a new car arrives from the factory, it's transported by robot to an empty storage slot in one of the towers; when a customer shows up to collect the car, the same robotic picking system fetches the vehicle, brings it down to ground level, and transfers it to the KundenCenter in the next building. Each tower holds up to 400 cars on 20 levels and can process a car every 45 seconds during peak times.
In the past, tourists weren't allowed inside the towers for safety reasons, but a Car Tower Discovery Tour now makes the towers accessible to anyone who can spare 15 minutes and a handful of euros. Visitors enter a six-person glass box and are carried to the top (or 20th) story of a car tower by the same robotic lift that's used for automobiles.
Picking up a VW in Wolfsburg
In Germany, it's common practice for car buyers to order customized vehicles through local dealers and collect the cars at the factory.
Volkswagen's KundenCenter (customer center) in Wolfsburg delivers an average of 550 new cars per day, and representatives take photos of families and their Volkswagens at the moment of adoption.
VW even offers a car-delivery package that includes an overnight at the Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg, tickets to the Autostadt, and a guided tour.
Next page: Restaurants and shopping
Top photo: Autostadt. Photographer: Rainier Jensen.
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