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Audi History

Audi History

AUDI AG is a German company which produces cars under the Audi brand. It is part of the Volkswagen Group. The name Audi is based on a Latin translation of the surname of the founder August Horch, itself the German word for “listen!" Audi is headquartered in Ingolstadt, Germany.

On July 16, 1909 automotive pioneer August Horch founded August Horch Automobilwerke GmbH in Germany. A short time later he renamed the company after the Latin translation of his last name – making it Audi Automobilwerke.

In 1932, Audi merged with Horch, DKW and Wanderer, to form Auto Union AG. The four rings of the Audi badge symbolize the brands Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer. Before World War II, Auto Union AG used the four interlinked rings, only on Auto Union racing cars in that period. Member companies used their own names and emblems.

Auto Union GmbH was established in Ingolstadt on September 3rd, 1949 following a series of changes as WWII came to an end.

Daimler-Benz AG acquired the majority of and finally the remaining shares in Auto Union GmbH on April 24th, 1958. From this date until the end of 1965, Auto Union was a fully owned subsidiary of the Stuttgart-based Daimler Group.

Volkswagenwerk AG acquired the majority of shares in Auto Union GmbH in December 1964, with Audi becoming a fully owned VW subsidiary from the end of 1966.

In March 1969, NSU Motorenwerke AG, which had just been taken over by VW, and the Ingolstadt-based Auto Union GmbH merged to form Audi NSU Auto Union AG.

In March 1980, a four-wheel-drive sports coupé was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show. The Audi Quattro was the first high-performance vehicle with four-wheel drive. This drive concept had previously only been used on trucks and off-road vehicles. The permanent four-wheel-drive system in the Audi Quattro enjoyed worldwide success in motor sport and gradually found its way into the entire Audi model range.

In January 1985, Audi NSU Auto Union AG was renamed AUDI AG. At the same time the company moved its head office from to Ingolstadt. From this time forward automobiles and the company had the same name.