History of Audi

Audi imageAudi’s history is one of the most multifaceted stories ever told in the history of the automobile. The Audi emblem with its four rings signifies one of Germany’s oldest automobile manufacturers. It symbolises the amalgamation in 1932 of four formerly independent motor-vehicle manufacturers: Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer. These companies formed the roots of what is today AUDI AG.

Audi cars, which had been built in Zwickau since 1910, were regarded from the start as technically avant-garde midsize models. Established by August Horch in 1909 in Zwickau, and trading since 1910 under the Audi name, which was a Latin translation of Horch (in German: ‘Listen!’), the company’s policy was to build cars mainly for the luxury category.

Impressive successes in the International Austrian Alpine Rallies from 1912 to 1914 had long since confirmed the high performance and elite character of the brand.

In 1907 Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen started a company in Zschopau to manufacture apparatus and fittings. In 1916, Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen began experiments on a steam-driven road vehicle in Zschopau. In 1919 the company, now known as Zschopauer Motorenwerke, switched to manufacturing small two-stroke engines. The first DKW small car appeared in 1928. After 1945, DKW motorcycles and cars were the basis for re-establishment of the Auto Union in Ingolstadt.

Horch cars had been built in Cologne since 1900, in Reichenbach since 1902 and in Zwickau since 1904. Although in 1909 August Horch left his Horchwerke in Zwickau, which had been established in 1904, he had none the less laid down a product design philosophy for the cars with his declared aim of building only high-quality, powerful models. Horch cars were among the supreme products of the German automobile industry, market leaders in the luxury class and with truly outstanding manufacturing quality standards.

The fourth ring referred to the Wanderer automobile division, which also joined the new Auto Union AG in 1932. Two mechanics, Johann Baptist Winklhofer and Richard Adolf Jaenicke, had been running a bicycle repair shop in Chemnitz since 1885. The company’s name was changed in 1896 to Wanderer Fahrradwerke AG. In 1902 Wanderer built its first motorcycle, and started to produce cars in 1913. The fourth ring in the Audi emblem represents the Wandered automobile division, which joined the new Auto Union AG in 1932.

NSU started motorcycle production in 1901 and began to build cars five years later. In 1886 a bicycle manufacturing department was added to the Neckarsulmer Strickmaschinenfabrik knitting-machine factory. NSU started to build motorcycles in 1901 and cars five years later. In 1929 the manufacture of cars was abandoned for a time for the company to concentrate fully on motorcycles. It was three decades later, in 1958, before automobiles were again produced in Neckarsulm.

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