The History Of Audi: Things You Need To Know About


Audi AG is one of the largest luxury car manufacturers today. Based on this company, leading European specialists are engaged in developing, designing, and constructing cars—the city where the headquarters is located in Ingolstadt (Germany).

The Beginning of History – 1899

Audi’s history is vivid and has gone through many transitions. Today, the company is a considerable auto concern that has absorbed Lamborghini and SEAT. However, the Audi brand itself became owned by Volkswagen AG under an agreement dated 1966. Today the company is one of the three largest German manufacturers in terms of the number of products sold.

The name appeared due to the translation of the title of the founder Horch into Latin, which translates as “Listen.” August Horch left a significant mark on history. After graduating from the Technical University, he goes to the factory to the famous businessman Karl Benz, where he begins to work on new engines. After years of hard work, and became the head of the division for the production of cars. An ambitious young man in 1899 opened his own company, which five years later he transferred to the rank of a joint-stock company and designated the headquarters of Zwickau.

Among the first inventions is a six-cylinder engine, the presentation of which turns into a failure and almost costs Horch business. Things are going badly because the quick temper becomes the cause of a quarrel with all companions. As a result, the engineer leaves his firm. However, he does not intend to leave the automotive business, so a new company named after him appears shortly. To suppress competition, the former partners go to court, challenging the right to the name “Horch.” It was at this point that Horch renamed his new company, Audi.

The First Car of the New Company

The first Audi model – Type A, based on a 22-horsepower 2,612 cc engine, came out in 1910. Structural reinforcement increases power to 28 hp. As a result, 137 copies enter the market in two years of work. One of these models is now in the Technical Museum of Prague. Photos of Audi have been published on the net, where you can evaluate attempts to create a unique car.

A year later, a modification of the Audi Type B appears. It was created to take part in races. As a result, only three models were born, which participated in the 2.5 thousand kilometers race in the Auto Alpenfart race. Of course, it was far from the ideal model. Therefore, in the next generations, the errors were corrected, and in 1912 version C was born, which went down in history as the “Conqueror of the Alps.” This model brings three wins in designated races in 1912, 1913, and 1914. At first, the Audi engine had a power of 35 hp, but later it was increased to 40. The maximum speed that the Conqueror of the Alps developed was 90 km / h. As a result, several victories, serious design decisions, and the fighting spirit of the creator forced most of the competitors to reconsider their views on an unremarkable person in business.

From 1911, Horch also decides to try his hand at building premium cars. His company makes 53 of the D, intended for high-ranking officials. August III, the King of Saxony, becomes one of the owners of an elite car.

In 1912, the company tried to build the first truck, called the Audi Type Ct. The maximum weight of the transported cargo is 1 ton, and the engine power is 28 or 35 horsepower. It is worth noting the appearance in the pre-war period of two more modifications – E and G. The first went down in history as a costly model – 14,500 marks, and the second, as the owner of a unique arrangement of cylinders.

In 1920, Horch relinquished the director position of his own company and moved to the civil service, where he received a high position in the Ministry of Transport. As a result, he becomes a member of the directorate, which makes responsible decisions, deciding the country’s future development.

Although the departure of the head of the company continues to grow, in 1921, the council chose a new vector of development. Designers make a historic breakthrough in safety – releasing the first left-hand drive car Audi. The replacement contributed to ensuring safe overtaking improving visibility. A successful find is beginning to copy the rest of the car companies.

In the meantime, the lineup continues to evolve. In 1923, the M model entered the arena, but only very wealthy people could buy an Audi since the cost of one car reaches the limit of 22.3 thousand marks, which makes the vehicle the most expensive in Germany. Innovative features, overhead valves, and an all-wheel brake system are special. The maximum speed was 120 km / h. The release lasts only four years, as the price scares away buyers. An improved model comes to replace but at a reduced price. The new Audi is called the Audi R Imperator. Despite the price reduction, buyers also did not line up. Production is in decline, and the company’s financial condition is close to bankruptcy.

The First Coup and New Inventions – 1928-1939

To avoid financial ruin, the creator sells the company to businessman Jorgen Skafte Rasmussen, who was the owner of the Zschopauer Motorenwerke / DKW motorcycle production. The merger of the two companies takes place on the eve of the global economic crisis, so expensive and “gluttonous” cars become unnecessary. Then Rasmussen orders to create a compact car with front-wheel drive, which has no analogs yet. As a result, the engineers assemble their plans, and the vehicle gets the name DKW F1.

The next significant event occurred in 1932 when four manufacturers – Audi, Horch, DKW, and Wanderer – merged. As a result, the new company was named Auto Union, the emblem of which was four combined rings, which have survived as the main distinguishing mark. It is worth noting that large firms decided to unite because they did not compete. The first specialized inexpensive cars, the second in motorcycles and small vehicles, Horch focused on luxury cars, and Wanderer was the leader in the middle segment.

Audi was obviously in a losing position. The fact is that the economic situation forced buyers to focus on inexpensive models. DKW accounted for almost 18% of all sales, while Audi got only 0.1%.

The Post-war Years and the Rise of the Brand From the Financial Bottom

The Second World War inflicted devastating damage, both in production and factory capacities, some of which were destroyed, some were taken to the Soviet Union. As a result, Auto Union first fell into the hands of the owners of Daimler-Benz, later in 1965, a controlling stake was bought out by Volkswagen AG. The latter planned to close its production and use the surviving factories to create their machines.

Despite management’s resistance, the head of the design department does not refuse further development of Audi. The project falls into the hands of the head of the concern, Heinrich Nordhoff, who immediately sends the novelty into production. It is precisely how the story of the legendary Audi 100 sounds. Today, experts say that this model began the history of the brand as a leader and standard.

The bet was made not only on the technical stuffing but also on the body of Audi, among which were the Audi 2 – and 4-door modifications of the sedan and fastback. They managed to keep the front-wheel-drive and the longitudinal engine layout. The car gained immense popularity in the territory of the Soviet Union, where mass deliveries were established. Excellent dynamics, practicality, and comfort deserved positive reviews. Audi was in great demand, especially after the release of the second generation.

In 1969, the company merges with NSU Motorenwerke AG and redefines its core business. Since now, engineers have been working on innovative technologies. And in 1972, the Audi 80 appeared, which shares the same platform as the VW Passat. The 80th represents a compact station wagon and sedan. A little later, a luxury version of the Audi 90 appears. The MacPherson strut front suspension and telescopic shock absorbers are already indicated here. The engine produces 54-100 hp. In 1973, the novelty bypassed the main competitor Alfa Romeo Alfetta and Renault 5 in the nomination “Main Car of the Year.”

In 1974, Ferdinand Piech became the head of the design department, which now manages all Audi processes. Years go by, and the company continues to strengthen the engine. Only in 1985 did they work to take a severe step. The company was renamed Audi AG, and a turbocharged gasoline engine was introduced into the cars. In galvanized and aluminum bodies, 8- and 16-cylinder Audi engines appeared. The diesel was presented in a completely new form – with direct injection.

The Emergence of New Models 1980-2000

On March 3, 1980, at the next automobile exhibition in Geneva, a passenger car with an all-wheel-drive system, the Audi Quattro, was presented. The idea of ​​the all-wheel-drive was no longer new. It was first tested on the Iltis all-terrain vehicle from Volkswagen. It has been proven that handling on a snowy road is improved in practice. The model’s name was chosen for a reason, and this is how “four” sounds from Italian. At the beginning of its launch, the Quattro was not recognized due to its heavyweight and complex design. What was the surprise of the critics when he began to win prizes in the races? In addition, the company has invested heavily in advertising. The video showed Quartro climbing a ski jump.

After eight years, the company introduced the Audi V8 luxury sedan, equipped with an M8 engine and an all-wheel-drive system. As a result, he gave out 250 and 280 horsepower, had excellent sound insulation, and corresponded to the luxury comfort of the cabin. Two years later, the Audi 100 came out with a six-cylinder V-engine with 174 horsepower.

The following significant change dates back to 1990 when the 80th became obsolete and replaced the Audi A4, which has a single platform with the Volkswagen Passat 5. The main innovation was the emergence of directional stability and enhanced security systems. In 1994, version 100 was replaced by the Audi A6. The latter belongs to the business class, is equipped with bi-turbo engines, including diesel engines, has a choice of both entire and front-wheel drive. At the same time, the Audi A8 executive class car comes out, and after another four years, the Audi TT sports coupe debuts at the Geneva Motor Show, in the “heart” of which there is a bi-turbo diesel engine, automatic and all-wheel drive / front-wheel drive.

Modern Audi – What It Has Become in the Xxi Century

In 2005, the first SUV appeared in the company’s lineup – Audi Q7. The permanent all-wheel drive supports a 6-band “automatic” electronic assistant adaptive air suspension. By this point, the safety systems have reached the highest level, winning the recognition of crash tests.

Audi’s R8 sports car is not to be missed. The price of this model in 2019 starts from 11.2 million rubles for the third generation. The first car boasted 4.2 and 5.2-liter engines, all-wheel drive, and a single platform with the Lamborghini Gallardo. The main innovation is the appearance of full LED optics in serial production.

In 2009, the company began developing electric vehicles and demonstrating a concept car that will later “grow” into a whole family of e-Tron, including the Audi A3, A1, and Speeder. At the Kaluga automobile enterprise, since 2010, they began to assemble Audi A6, A4, Audi A5. In addition, the local plant sheltered prefabricated workshops for the Audi Ku 5 and Ku 7 crossovers. But recently, local production has been discontinued. In 2010, the German brand arranged the delivery of the Audi A7, which is still on sale. The latest model is the Audi Q8 – a crossover created according to all the canons of the modern automotive industry.

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Jay Oza, a hairstylist turned Editor at With a background of five years in the hairstyling industry, I have combined my passion for hairstyling with blogging, aiming to assist others on their hairstyle journey.