Best Place to Play ‘Punch Buggy’: Volkswagen Autostadt

Posted by Staff on Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

View of Volkswagen Autostadt, Wolfsburg, GermanyView of Volkswagen Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany

When you go to pick up your new Volkswagen at the Volkswagen Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany, you could easily spend a whole day exploring the 40-plus acre customer center. Even if you don’t have a car to pick up, it’s worth the visit just to see the facilities. The Volkswagen Autostadt goes way beyond the realm of a typical customer center and is more like a theme park. While it serves as a pick up point for Volkswagen customers, it also boasts a museum, a 360º theatre, nine restaurants, an off-road test course, and much more; it’s like the Disneyland of Volkswagens. They even have a Ritz-Carlton on-site if you decide one day isn’t enough.

Volkswagen created the Autostadt as a way to celebrate the company’s unique history among automobile makers. The Autostadt’s motto, “People, cars and what moves them,” sets the tone for the various facilities and exhibits. The goal is to share with the public the ingenuity that has brought the automobile to its current state and what will be needed to sustain the industry. With today’s environmental concerns taken into consideration, there is plenty to learn about green technology and the role it plays in the company’s cars of today and the future. The exhibition, “Level Green,” is a large interactive exhibit that addresses the issue of sustainability and is divided into themed sections. This “experiential area of sustainability” was designed and developed in partnership with a number of cutting-edge firms, including J Mayer H Architects, whose Metropol Parasol project in Spain we’ve covered here. The 1000-meter-square space is carved up by a network of sculptural installations equipped with interactive displays. Using these displays, visitors can explore such topics as Sustainability at Volkswagen, Personal Use, Mobility of the Future, Effects of Climate Change, and Three Aspects of Sustainability.

Level Green at Volkswagen Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany

Level Green exhibit

As one approaches the Autostadt, the most distinctive features are the two glass towers (seen in top photo). The Autotürme, or CarTowers, are 48-meter-tall high-rise stacks, loaded with brand new Volkswagens. When you come to pick up your car here, the “car shuttles” are activated, which are part of an elevator system that retrieves the car and delivers it right to you. Visitors can take a ride in one of these “car shuttles” and get an interior view of the tower, as well as a view of the entire Autostadt once they have been delivered to the special slot designated as an observation deck. From there, one has a view of the many lagoons, the surrounding countryside, and the adjacent Volkswagen factory.

Touareg All-Terrain At Volkswagen Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany

Off-road with the Touareg

The most hands-on attractions at the Autostadt are the driving courses. There are two all-terrain tracks where visitors, after an introductory run with an instructor, can put a Volkswagen SUV to the test. The “Touareg All-Terrain Track” is pure off-roading, with a deep water hazard, sand pit, see-saw bridge, steps and a suspension bridge. The other vehicle choice is the Tiguan. In this model, you are challenged by a rutted dirt road, cement pipe, steps, and railway lines. Volkswagen didn’t forget about the kids and have created a track where they can get behind the wheel. Kids 5 to 11 drive around a small track in miniature electric New Beetles, after which they are awarded their own Children’s Drivers License.

Mini Beetles at Volkswagen Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany

Mini Beetles await their young drivers

Admittedly, this is just a brief introduction to the massive Volkswagen Autostadt, which is ever expanding and reacting to current cultural moods and trends. An AutoMuseum on the grounds traces Volkswagen’s history alongside a more broad history of the automobile. Also found at the Autostadt, are a number of visual treats, developed by Jack Rouse Associates, including a 8/70 large-format film, a 360º theatre, and a fractured-image multi-media walkthrough. If Volkswagen ever loses their grip on the automotive industry, at least they’ve already got their foot in the door of the entertainment industry.

Leave a Reply

Must Read