What an awesome description of the tour! Thanks so much for taking the time to write that all out. Definitely makes me want to visit the factory.911 Factory Tour
The lockers at the Porsche Museum – are now touch card activated – you no longer need some coins to retrieve a key. We put our bags, phones, wallets, etc into a spare locker. The lockers now have USB-C cables and wireless charging pads inside them – so you’ll come back to a charged phone. The tours are strictly no camera – to protect privacy of workers, cars, order numbers, etc.
After the intro talk in the Porsche Museum foyer – we walk across the roundabout and in through the entrance turnstiles at Werk II. From there it is a quick stroll to the 911 Factory entrance – where we take an elevator to the second floor.
The building age is in-between the original 1930s/1950s factories and the ultra modern Taycan assembly building – probably from the late 1970s.
On entering the assembly floor – you are immediately greeted with a busy scene. You can see the assembly line in the middle of the space – driverless automated parts trucks are whizzing around towing trailers. It is not noisy – but there is hardly anywhere to stand that you won’t soon be in someone’s or something’s way. Porsche must really allow for these tours – because we can see how they are tricky to accommodate here.
We walk to the start of the assembly line – where the painted bodies have come in from the paint shop – across the bridge – on the other side of the road. The bodies are lowered by a robot down from a rack and placed onto a stand that will hold the body as it makes its way through the entire assembly process.
A bar code stuck on the back of the body is read – and from that all the parts to be placed onto the car – across the 100+ stations of the build – are co-ordinated. Six hours from this point – a completed 911 will emerge two floors below us.
One of the first things to happen to the body – is the doors are removed and sent one floor below – where they'll be reunited with the nearly finished car in a few hours.
Trying to keep out of the way of the various automated parts trucks – we walk along the line. They beep at you if you get in their way!
First stop is actually a side assembly line – where the 911 dashboard’s are fully assembled from parts.
Every 911 dashboard is created here – all models – left and right hand drive. We watch a dashboard for the new S/T model being completed. There looked to be about 10 stops on this mini assembly line. The dashboards starts as a box of parts and a metal frame brought to the start by a parts robot.
Each station on the 911 assembly (including the dashboard assembly line) gets 3 minutes to complete about 1 minute and 10 seconds of work – giving workers plenty of time to finish their task and have a little reset before the line moves on one position. The guide explained that this means they are less stressed – can give more attention to quality and detail and have a little time to solves an issue if it arrises.
The guide explains that 99% of the employee's who work on the assembly line stay with the company for their entire working lives. If those stats are true – it does indicate that pay and conditions at the company must be pretty good. They get 20% discount on any Porsche they wish to purchase – with the rule that they can't sell (flip it on) for at least 10 months.
A dashboard goes from box of parts to completed in around 36 minutes and it then immediately gets installed in the appropriate 911 – with the main assembly line being right beside the last station of the dashboard line. I found it remarkable that the dashboards being installed into cars didn’t exist half and hour beforehand!
We leave the dashboards behind us and continue down the line – reaching where the windscreens, sunroofs and rear-windows are hand installed. A robot here puts the adhesive on the glass – but they are manually installed by humans onto the cars. The Targa rear windows – don’t go near the robot as they are manually screwed onto the vehicle – with no adhesive involved.
We see frunks, boot liners, etc being installed. At each station – there is a Porsche branded touchscreen – a little bit like an old-fashioned iMac. The screen displays : (a) the model that is now at that station, (b) the configuration of the car that is relevant to the station, (c) the country the car is being shipped to, (d) the time left before the line will move the car to the next staton. Nothing else about the customer is visible.
The line stops every hour for five minutes to allow staff a break – toilet, snacks, catch up on phone, etc.
We walk down the stairs to the first floor and see a similar line – this time with the bodies moving in the opposite direction. Middle of the way through this assembly line – the bodies are lifted up by a roof robot and are sent down another line 90 degrees to the one we’re following. This is where all the underbody installing happens – including the marriage of the body and the drivetrain.
Unfortunately, we’re not able to follow this line – on this tour – because there are unreleased 911 prototypes on the line. Instead, we continue along our line – where the almost finished car’s are returned from the underbody process.
From this vantage point – we can see about thirty 911s on the line at the same time. Almost every imaginable model and variant is there: Turbo’s, Turbo S, GT3’s, regular Carrera’s and even a 911 Dakar!
We see the wheels & tyres being put onto each car. The Dakar’s chunky tyres being very noticeable on the parts trailer. The guide explains that buyers can choose their wheels but have no control of tyre brands (a pet peeve of our!).
We see the doors – now fully installed with equipment – being installed back on to the car.
We get close to the end of the line – where some final checks are performed in a light tunnel. Worryingly the tool benches here have plenty of wooden mallets on them! Nearby we watch the side assembly line building out the doors – adding windows, speakers, door openers, etc.
The car’s from here will drop down to the ground floor – where they will undergo water, wind and rolling road testing.
Porsche build 300 x 911's – 24 hours a day across three shifts. The night shift being new – and a reaction to the build up of orders post COVID and the chip/parts shortage. During the night shift – each station gives six minutes for the one minute of work to being done. Meaning it's moving at a even more relaxed pace – and they produce only 50% of the car's of a daytime shift.
And that is the end of the tour of the assembly building!
We then walk over to the upholstery factory – where we see raw leather being scanned and marked for imperfections. Then sent to an automated cutting machine – using 3000 bar of water pressure – to mark out the pieces. And finally where the workers use sewing machines to manually make each leather part that goes into every 911 interior.
As we are walking back to the entrance – we quickly stop off in the engine assembly building and look at flat-6 cylinder engines being assembled and cold tested. Every none-GT engine is cold tested – meaning they are not started with fuel. GT3/GT4 engines are hot tested in one of seven dedicated test bays – and they are fired up.
That concludes our 911 tour.
Our second visit to the Taycan factory is next.