** Volkswagen Group Malaysia (VGM) recently invited several media parties for a Brand Familiarization trip to the Autostadt. Our flight took us from Kuala Lumpur to Munich and then to Hanover , before we were transported to Wolfsburg by road. Wolfsburg is located northeast of Germany. Founded in 1938, Wolfsburg is a planned town originally intended to house the workers of the Volkswagen factories in the surrounding areas and today, remains as the heart of all things Volkswagen. During our commute around the area, I noticed that a good 90% of passenger cars were veedubs. The Autostadt officially opened its doors on 1st June 2000 and consists of 25 hectares of park and lagoon landscape costing €430mil. “People, cars, and what moves them” is the slogan for the Autostadt in Wolfsburg. While the centre of Wolfsburg lacks historical buildings, it does offer many new attractions like the Autostadt. Besides being an automotive theme park, the Autostadt – a 100% subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, also serves as a communications platform and is open 363 days in a year. It is a Mecca for many motoring enthusiasts and to date, over 23million people have been here. Serene view from my room; ZeitHaus on the far right, with the lamborghini and Premium Clubhouse just a little further ahead. A view of the ZeitHaus from the Premium Clubhouse. VGM generously provided the media participants with accommodation at the Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg – a stone’s throw away from the various pavilions, and the famous ZeitHaus museum. The view from the hotel is beautiful; parklands interspersed with flowing water, and lagoons. As it was close to the end of year, a huge Christmas tree was being erected in front of the hotel that helped to make the hotel feel very homely. Bugatti T57 SC Atlantic Cars today can't ride on those tyres! The first Porsche 911 - 130PS and capable of 210km/h! Old is gold... literally. This was on my wall a long time ago... so nice to finally see it in the flesh. Classic supercars from yesteryear. Without a doubt, the ZeitHaus museum is definitely the main attraction at the Autostadt. I’d only ever seen pictures of this place, and have been wanting to come here for quite a long time now. The ZeitHaus is the world’s most frequently visited automotive museum, and it showcases historical Volkswagen vehicles, along with other milestone vehicles from other manufacturers. It was interesting to see how the common car developed through time. While almost all the vehicles on display are actual historical figures, there were a few replicas – that included the Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic which had an original chassis, but with a fabricated bodywork. However, all cars on display were maintained in running condition. Do you recognize this plasticine model? Pin-point precision, even if its only a scale model. Budding automotive designers start here. Moving a little further away from ZeitHaus, we moved on to the GroupForum. Here, we had the opportunity to explore the latest developments in automotive design and technology at the CarDesign studio. Interested participants could also get the chance at designing their own models, to be printed and taken home. The multimedia exhibition section was themed “LEVEL GREEN – The Concept of Sustainability”. It was good to know that the Volkswagen Group showed concern on this topic; at the exhibition, the current state of their research was presented in six theme-based sections. We were told that new insights and scientific data would be continuously integrated to the exhibition, and guests would have the option to delve more deeply into specific subjects. Premium Clubhouse that houses the super-luxury brands by Volkswagen Group. Inside, it is none other than the Bugatti Veyron... 'New' Beetle 2.0 Turbo on display at the Volkswagen pavilion. Personally, the next part of the tour was the most interesting part for me – visiting the seven brand pavilions. Each pavilion – Volkswagen, Audi, Lamborghini, Seat, Skoda, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and the Premium Clubhouse for the luxury segment; currently occupied by Bugatti , represents one brand under the Volkswagen Group and are integrated into the overall landscape of the park. A few readers will immediately notice that one important Volkswagen brand is sorely missing – Porsche. Fret not, as the Porsche pavilion is currently under development, being built at the southeast section of the automotive theme park and is scheduled to open in spring 2012. One of two glass towers, housing a maximum of 400 cars each... The new cars are delivered here, straight from the factory via underground tunnels Impressively, this delivery system (from factory, to towers, to Delivery Center) is fully automated. Our day came to an end, and last on the agenda was visiting the two car towers. Newly assembled cars fresh from the VW factory are delivered via underground tunnel to the two car towers. Each glass tower soars 48 meters into the sky and consists of 20 floors, holding a total of 800 vehicles waiting for delivery. This is the world’s largest vehicle delivery center, and Volkswagen has created a unique experience for car buyers to watch as their cars are transported from the glass towers to the Delivery Center. On average, 550 customers come to the Delivery Center to collect their vehicles – a testament to the Volkswagen name; “People’s car”. * There were quite a number of pictures from the trip; view them all here. ** Aerial picture sourced from Wikipedia.