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The History of Audi

Based in Bavaria and part of the Volkswagen group, Germany’s Audi AG manufacture and design cars around the world and are known today as one of the most influential and innovative car brands in history, creating vehicles ranging from motorcyles to luxury rides.

Audi’s story began at the very end of the 19th Century, with notably few competitors, but its life as the Audi Group began in 1932, when four significant manufacturing companies - Audi, Wanderer, Horch and DKW - came together under the Auto Union AG banner. The rings of the Audi logo that is still prominent today are representative of the four companies that came together to create the union. It was the son of August Horch - the founder of the most prominent branch – who first suggested the Audi name. Horch is ‘listen’ in German, ‘Audi’ is Latin for ‘listen’, so this Latin take on the founder’s surname creates the name we know today.

The first Audi car was the Audi Type A Sport-Phaeton which was born out of the German city of Zwickau in 1910. Just 11 years later, Audi became the first vehicle production company to manufacture a vehicle with left-hand drive.  The company suffered a temprary hiatus in the 1940s following the Second World War, when it was shut down by the Soviet Military, but it picked up again at the end of the decade with a little financial help from the German government and the US. In 1965 the DKW F102 appeared;  the first post-war car with a four-stroke engine. For the next 60 years, Audi would go on to manufacture some legendary vehicles. Notable Audi cars include the 1868’s Audi 100, which formed the starting blocks for the Audi model series that has become globally known and 1974’s Audi 50, which went on to beome the VW Polo when Audi joined the Volkswagen Group alongside Skoda, SEAT, and Volkswagen in the 1960s.

Audi have won a number of awards for innovation, safety mechanisms and design aspects which blend the luxury and style elements with comfort and safety; a trait which is still recognised today. Engineers have been experimenting with engine modifications since the 60s and in 1989 they launched Diesel Direct Injection and gradually introduced aluminium, which pledged lower cost of fuel and lowered the weight of the vehicle. They have also produced innovative corrosion-reducing galvanised vehicles. In 1980, the Audi Quattro was unleashed; the first ever high performance vehicle with four-wheel drive that wasn’t an off-road vehicle or a truck.

The company has gone on to feature in number of big budget Hollywood movies, dominate world rallys and develop major production centres across the globe in Europe and the Far East. The 1990s brought a desire to aim at a higher market and stand against German rivals Mercedes and BMW which launched with the V8 as well as the Audi A3 and A7 Sportback which are incredibly popular models; the latter being awarded What Car?’s “Car of the Year 2013” and best “Small Family Car”. For seven years running, Audi’s TT Coupé has been awarded “Coupé of the Year”. Audi continue to break records and in 2012 the group sold nearly 1.5 million premium cars around the world, a jump of 11.7% from the year before.


published: 01/05/2014 17:00:00

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