Monday, April 15, 2024

Audi: The unknown history of the German luxury motor | Economy and Business

In 1899, German engineer August Horch founded an automobile company bearing his surname in the German city of Cologne. Soon his cars became renowned for their quality and exclusivity. “Good and strong” was his motto.

In 1909, serious disagreements arose between Horch and the heads of the technical and commercial departments, Fritz Seidel and Heinrich Paulmannn, respectively, who ousted Horch from the management.

So Horch decided to go his own way. He left the company and, unable to continue using his surname as it was already registered, he founded another brand called Audi, as Horch meaning “hark” or “hear” in German becomes Audi in Latin.

Audi Automobilwerke GmbH continued until the 1930s when, due to the Great Depression, it was forced to merge with the brands DKW, Horch and Wanderer to survive. It was then that the conglomerate called Auto Union was established along with its logo whose four linked rings represent each brand.

With the interruption of World War II when many car manufacturing plants were retooled for military production only to become targets of Allied bombing, the Audi name remained dormant for some time until 1964, when the Volkswagen Group bought Auto Union following ongoing expansionary industrial plans.

The parent company then decided to resurrect the Audi name and, under the direction of Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of the Porsche founder, turned it into a prestigious brand in the 1970s, with distinction of having twice won the World Rally Championship with the Quattro coupe driven by Walter Rhörl.

Since then, Audi has remained at the cutting edge of technology and true to August Horch’s original vision of quality, reliability and performance. Now immersed in the process of developing electric models, the German brand continues to faithfully display the four rings that allowed it to thrive.

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