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It all started when an automobile company named August Horch Automobilwerke GmbH was opened by August Horch in 1902 after leaving his previous company. But due to legal reason he was not allowed to use the word “Horch” in the name since it was a trademark for his previous company. Due to this reason, the name had to be changed. This name was suggested by the child of one of his friends who was learning Latin when the discussion for a new name was going on.

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The name was willingly accepted between all comrades. The name was “Audi.” The luxury car brand that we all know and love. It is not a known fact as to how and why the symbol of the four rings came into picture. So, after the name Audi was chosen, a few years later down the line, the companies Wanderer (merged with NSU), DKW, Horch and Audi merged to form Audiwerke AG. This merger took place in 1932 which was just shy of the World War 2. During this time, the four-ring symbol was only used in motor racing car that the company produced because each of the companies involved in the merger used their own logo on production cars.

Armored car manufactured by Audi during the world war 2 (Source :

During the World war 2, Audi was forced into making armoured cars for the Nazi Army, for the Allies. All of their production and engineering went into providing and easing the Nazi Army. On 3rd February 1951, only a few years after the conclusion of World war 2 in 1945, the founder of Audi, August Horch died at the age of 83. He had already retired from Audi in 1920 and shifted to Berlin to do miscellaneous jobs, but he always stayed in the automobile business.

NSU factories in Ingolstadt - Source :

Post world war 2 could have been better for Audi since the Soviet Union ended up destroying their factories owned by Wanderer and other engine production companies. This calamity set Audi back a few years which went into rebuilding the company. The Auto Union at the time had its new headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany with Daimler-Benz holding 87% shares which soon turned into 100% by 1959. Benz at that time was a part of Volkswagen which by that time had conquered over Germany with their state-of-the-factories and side-lined smaller companies, namely, Audi.

The DKW logo with the Audi four rings symbol- (Source :

After 25 years, Audi as a separate entity was born on 1st January 1969 with its headquarters at Neckarsulm where NSU’s (merged with Wanderer) factories were. Volkswagen, one of the bigger competitors in Germany had already bought 50% stake in Audi and hence were in control of its production. Although this deal had brought Audi huge success since Volkswagen introduced Audi to the American market which was booming in the 1970s. Audi produced many cars and engines for the VW group and its own name in the US.

Audi 100 in the 1970 - Source :

Until 1985, the NSU and the Auto Union were almost null which made the name of the company officially shortened to just Audi AG. Audi continued producing high quality production cars with the four-ring badge around the world due to the exposure that VW Group got. Audi acted a separate entity after that even though it was owned by VW Group.

Audi TT 2000 - Source :

The German car makers were not aware that the only way was up for them. Their sales exploded in the 2000s due to new technological advancements in the automobile world. Audi’s tagline itself said “Vorsprung durch Technik” meaning “Being Ahead Through Technology.” It was amazing how Audi, which was known as a small-time car maker 100 years ago and acted under Benz, a big car manufacturer in Germany was now competing with them on a global level. Owning an Audi became a privilege and Audi was now counted as a luxury car brand. Even though Audi was known as a luxury car brand, they always aimed for their cars to be a humble reminder of their days of struggle in the past.

A6 2000 base interior - Source :

Even though has been known to the public for their high quality production vehicles, Audi has been a major contender in motor sport racing and this blog would be incomplete without talking about their journey in that context. Audi started racing its cars in various formats of motor racing starting the 1930s. Their success came in the 1980s and 1990s were rallying was big in the United States. The Audi Quattro was created in 1980. It was a four-wheel drive with turbochargers, fit for rallying. It is one of the most iconic rally racing cars of all time.

Audi Rally Car 2000- Source :

Touring cars came in with the victories for Audi in the 1990s. The European touring competitions in Italy, France, Germany and the UK were a big deal. Audi aimed to perform their best in these formats after their wins in the US.

TCR Touring car from 2015-

Even though these races were watched by millions all over Europe, the biggest race, which determined exactly how capable a car company was the fabled 24 Hours of Le Mans. Every major car company aimed at winning the Le Mans every year. It was only until 1999 when Audi started putting in their cars into Le Mans since it was finally time to win big. They gained victory soon from 2000-2002 with the Joest Racing team, who used their cars to win three times in a row. Audi continued to dominate Le Mans since their R8s, R10s and R18s were no match to their competitors. Audi Sport- their racing division, has become a huge name in the racing industry over the last 20 years.

Audi R8R-  Source :

Audi is now developing self-driving and electric cars. They plan to tie up with the Japanese car manufacturer, Sanyo, to thrive in that section. Audi, in the past 40 years has been advancing towards modernization of their automobiles. Their most sold model is Audi Q5 which is a luxurious SUV with an average of 60,000 models sold every year.

Audi Q5 - Source :

Audi has a lot of cars which are driven by the every-day man and by rich businessmen. Their range of automobiles has helped them gain huge popularity. The most popular vehicles manufactured by Audi are A3, which is a coupe with killer exterior and the finest interior, Audi A6, which is an executive vehicle and Audi A8L which is their top-notch sedan. Audi R8, is their most sold supercar which costs close to 170,000 dollars. R8’s latest model has a horsepower of 600 hp which makes it a seat sticker.

Audi R8, their one and only supercar - Source :

Audi currently is worth 75 billion dollars. Audi has sold 2 million cars in 2019. As you can see, Audi is a leading car manufacturer and hopefully remains so. This complicated history of Audi with Horch on the front, taking charge and navigating Audi through its years of hardship made Audi a brand which is to be remembered for many, many years to come.

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About the author
Anhad Aggarwal

Anhad Aggarwal is a sophomore studying at The Pennsylvania University. He is pursuing Mechanical Engineering and also loves to convey his thoughts and ideas through writing. A theatre and drama lover, Anhad is also a car enthusiast and wants to eventually pursue automobile engineering. He belie.

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