Audi history involves everything from lawsuits to world wars. As with the history of many car brands, the German manufacturer now associated with luxury sports cars had an interesting history becoming the established industry giant of today. Whether you need the information for a project or simply wonder about the history of one of the most well-known car brands to date, read on to learn the history of Audi, including important events, the creation of its logo, and the progress of the brand from its founding to the present.
Audi History: The Origin of the Name
In 1885, the Wanderer Company began producing machines in Germany. However, 1899 is the date you want to put in your pocket. August Horch built the A. Horch & Cie, a branch of Wanderer that then became a branch of his Motowagenwerke company in 1904. Horch’s journey towards automobile manufacturer had rough patches ahead, however.
August left to form a similar company in 1909 and was sued by the original owners for stealing their trademark, leaving Horch to try and figure out an original brand for himself. Thus, in 1910, Horch formed Audi Automobilwerke GmbH Zwickau. Audi (Latin for “listen”) reflected Horch’s main premise. He wanted people to pay attention to what he was selling.
The same year, Audi began making its first automobiles, which were instant successes in the sporting world.
Audi’s Middle Years and the Creation of the Logo
Starting in 1920, Horch worked for the ministry of transportation in Germany, leaving Audi to flourish without him. It could do so, however, because the name he established for it had already become well-known in the world of international sports. When he left, Audi made their first left-hand driver, a car that quickly became a mainstay of German trends.
In the late 20s and early 30s, major investors from four separate companies merged to become part-owners of Audi. In the spirit of their collaborative investment, the now-famous logo with the four rings (one for each company) became Audi’s official logo from then on.
WWII proved to be a major shift for the tech-focused manufacturer. Audi made armored cars for the German forces in the late 30s and early 40s. Thus, part of the Soviet de-militarization efforts after the war led to many Audi factories being dismantled. This meant relocating Audi to West Germany and trying to survive.
Audi’s Journey to the Present Day
Audi lay dormant for almost 20 years as a spare parts manufacturer, its investors trying to recoup their war losses. In 1965, Volkswagen bought and resurrected the Audi name for the purpose of producing only Volkswagen. However, the Audi Union seized the opportunity to prove their own models, created the Audi 100 in secret, and attracted the VW council’s attention.
Since then, Audi has been a mainstay of high-tech automobile manufacturing in Germany, drawing attention in luxury sports circles each year with their new innovations.
Audi History: Conclusion
Audi history involves many turnovers, changes, wars, and struggles. One man started what would become a co-investment, a dormant brand, and an epic resurrection all in the span of 70 years. Today, Audi remains a well-known manufacturer of international luxury sports vehicles and high-value, tech-focused consumer cars.