Audi TraditionCompanies and brands

A many-sided, eventful history: the AUDI AG tradition in car and engine manufacturing extends back into the nineteenth century. The most important milestones:

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  • August Horch and Audi

    1899: August Horch wrote the first chapter in Audi’s history when he established the motor vehicle company known as Horch & Cie. Motorwagenwerke. Ten years later, he founded a second car manufacturing company: Audi Automobilwerke in Zwickau.
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  • Four brands – four rings

    1932: Vier interlocking rings symbolised the merger of four automobile manufacturers based in the German state of Saxony: Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer became Auto Union AG, then the second-largest motor vehicle manufacturing group in Germany.
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  • Four rings – Audi

    Using synergies – this was the Audi brand’s motto when developing a systematic platform strategy: front-wheel drive from DKW, engines from Wanderer and bodies from Horch were features of the Audi model range from 1933 onwards.
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  • Four rings – DKW

    DKW products were regarded as good performers: practical, reliable and economical. The DKW brand supplied the Auto Union models that sold in large numbers, and was therefore of decisive importance for the new group’s success.
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  • Four rings – Horch

    The Horch factory in Zwickau never departed from the principle laid down by the company’s founder: to build only powerful, high-quality cars. The Auto Union therefore sold Horch cars in the premium segment of the market.
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  • Four rings – Wanderer

    When Auto Union AG was formed, Wanderer’s car division had the task of producing midsize cars. In the years that followed, the brand’s sporty, progressive aspects were emphasised more and more.
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  • A new start in Ingolstadt

    1949: What was originally a depot for Auto Union spare parts in the former garrison town of Ingolstadt became the headquarters of Auto Union GmbH, a new company that continued the motor-vehicle traditions associated with the four-ring emblem.
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  • The brand born again

    1965: The new DKW F 102 model appeared on the market, the brand’s first post-war car with a four-stroke engine. This was the beginning of a new era, and the brand therefore deserved a new name: Audi, a name rich in tradition, was revived.
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  • Merger with NSU

    In 1969 Volkswagenwerk AG engineered the merger of Auto Union GmbH and the Neckarsulm-based NSU Motorenwerke AG. The new company was known as Audi NSU Auto Union AG and had its registered offices in Neckarsulm.
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  • Vorsprung durch Technik

    The extensive range of Audi and NSU models covering a wide variety of engines and drive concepts prompted the coining of a new advertising slogan in 1971, and one that has effectively been the company's mission statement ever since: "Vorsprung durch Technik".

Four Rings – the book

Audi history: the “Four Rings” as book or e-journal.