The History Of The Audi Car Company

One of the more popular car makers in terms of value, performance, and reliability for a great number of years has been German automobile manufacturer Audi. The name Audi signifies a high quality product with a large emphasis on performance. Audi is one of the older names in the automobile business and there are many good reasons for the company remaining popular for as long as they have.

The company was founded by August Horch in 1909, this was the second car company Horch had founded and he didn’t stay with it long either as he had left the company by 1920. The company started with four cylinder models and moved into six cylinder production in 1924. A major happening in 1928 occured when Jergen Rasmussen, the owner of DKW, purchased both Audi and American auto manufacturer Rickenbacker. Rasmussen immediately made use of Rickenbacker’s eight cylinder manufacturing capabilities and started manufacturing eight cylinder Audis in time for the 1929 model year.

1932 saw the merging of Audi, Horch (originally founded by Audi founder August Horch), DKW and Wanderer. The new company was called Auto Union and it continued manufacturing the highly successful cars that these companies had been known for, only now all under the Auto Union maker name. Auto Union also was a successful producer of military vehicles for the German war effort during the second World War. Thanks to the successful efforts of Allied bombers during World War II, significant damage was inflicted on the Auto Union manufacturing plants. When the war ended, what was left of the plants was located in the Soviet controlled area and was eventually taken over and turned into a Socialist controlled car manufacturer. The Auto Union name was kept alive in a relocated auto manufacturing plant after the war.

By 1959, Daimler-Benz had acquired the Auto Union company, but had disposed of it to Volkswagen by 1964. The Auto Union company had continued manufacturing two stroke engines all this time, but out of the need to stay popular with the public was forced to switch to producing four stroke engines by the mid 1960′s. The year was 1965 when Volkswagen relaunched the Audi namd semi-independent of the Auto Union and DKW names. Though the Audi name had returned, it was only as a model name, as the manufacturer was still listed as Auto Union. The 1969 merger of Auto Union and NSU, up until then known mostly as a motorcycle manufacturer, resulted in a company name of Audi NSU Auto Union AG. This new brand saw cars manufactured and marketed under the name Audi for the first since before World War II.

The Audi 100 rolled off the assembly line in 1968 and the Audi name was back in the public eye. Other Audis would follow quickly and the car manufacturer established a reputation as a solid maker of quality automobiles throughout the 1970′s. 1980 saw the introduction of the first Audi performance vehicle thanks to the help and guidance of parent company Volkswagen, the Audi Quattro was a turbocharged all-wheel drive vehicle. The popularity of these high performance Audis was substantial and the company would shift to concentrate on this type of vehicle from there on out. The company name was seen as long and cumbersome, so in 1985 the company’s official name was shortened to Audi AG.

The early 1990′s saw a huge downturn in Audi sales in America, this coincided with a televised 60 Minutes report that somewhat controversially drew attention to a possible accelerator problem, with this downturn the company came close to withdrawing completely from the American marketplace. Sales rebounded in the mid 1990′s behind the popular A4 model in 1996, and Audi secured its place in the automobile marketplace.

Audi has remained as one of the more sought after high-end car makers due to its concentration on both luxury and high performance results and appears slated to continue to do so through this, the early part of the 21st century. The Audi car company has come a long way from its start in 1909, including decades as a forgotten name lost in the shuffle of corporate takeovers, but it is back now in a big way.

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