August Horch founded A. Horch & Cie. in 1899, releasing its first car in 1901. Due to internal issues, August Horch left his company and founded another, called Audi, the Latin translation of his own name. The Audi name was registered in 1910. Horch himself left in 1920. The following year, Audi was the first company to produce a car in left-hand drive. By the end of the decade, it merged with DKW, Horch and Wanderer, filling all markets from small to luxury large cars, forming Auto Union AG.
Auto Union was successful in motor racing before World War II, but after the war, the company was removed from the register. A new company, Auto Union GmbH, was formed in 1949 at Ingolstadt, as part of an effort to regenerate German industry, beginning with motorcycles, then a DKW van, then DKW small cars. In 1958, the company became part of Daimler-Benz AG, but it was sold to Volkswagen in 1965.
Volkswagen revived the Audi name soon after, using it for premium vehicles. Audi NSU knowledge also shaped the Volkswagen range in the 1970s, effectively rescuing the company with modern, front-wheel-drive cars, replacing the long-running Käfer.
Audi has gone from strength to strength as a manufacturer, débuting the four-wheel-drive Quattro sports’ car in 1980, used aerodynamics as a marketing tool with the Audi 100 (C3) in 1982, and an all-aluminium bodyshell for its large A8 in 1994. It challenged the supremacy of Mercedes-Benz and BMW in the German luxury sector. It expanded to different niches, and many might say Audi has succeeded, with the quality of its interiors, its technology, and strong styling.
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