Audi‘s origins date back to 1909 when August Horch founded a company called Audi Automobilwerke GmbH. However, in 1909, Horch was forced out of the company by his partners and had to rename the company to Audi Automobilwerke GmbH Zwickau. The name is a Latin translation of the founder’s surname, which means “Hark!”
During the interwar period, Audi manufactured luxury cars and achieved some success in motorsports, including a win at the demanding Austrian Alpine Rally in 1912. However, the Great Depression forced the company into bankruptcy, and it was acquired by Auto Union in 1932.
The Auto Union group, formed by four German carmakers, including Audi, DKW, Horch, and Wanderer, became famous for its racing cars, which dominated the Grand Prix scene during the 1930s. After World War II, the company’s factories were in ruins, and the Soviet occupation authorities disbanded the Auto Union. While Auto Union’s factories were being rebuilt, Audi produced bicycles, motorcycles, and eventually the R8 and F103 series cars in the 1960s.
In the 1970s, Volkswagen acquired a controlling stake in the company and began to modernize Audi’s product line. This led to the development of the Audi 80 and Audi 100 models, which were the company’s first modern vehicles equipped with front-wheel drive and fuel-injected engines. The Audi Quattro, introduced in 1980, revolutionized the rally racing scene with its all-wheel-drive system.
Over the following decades, Audi continued to innovate, introducing new technologies such as aluminum space frame construction, the “Virtual Cockpit” digital instrument cluster, and hybrid and electric vehicles. Today, Audi is one of the world’s leading luxury automotive brands, producing cars that are renowned for their style, performance, and advanced technology.