Audi AG, Germany

Audi AG, Germany

Audi AG Germany

 

Established
25 April 1910; 107 years ago
Founder
August Horch

Headquarters
Ingolstadt, Germany

 

Audi AG is a German automobile manufacturer that designs, engineers, produces, markets and distributes luxury vehicles. Audi is also a member of Volkswagen Group and has its roots at Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany. In 1960s, modern era of Audi essentially began when Auto Union was acquired by Volkswagen from Daimler-Benz. In 1965, Audi relaunched the brand and introduced the Audi F103 series. The company name is based on the Latin translation of the surname of the founder, August Horch. "Horch", meaning "listen" in German, becomes "audi" in Latin. The four rings of the Audi logo each represent one of four car companies that banded together to create Audi's predecessor company, Auto Union. Audi, along with BMW and Mercedes-Benz, are among the best-selling luxury automobile brands in the world.

In 1958, in response to pressure from Friedrich Flick, then the company's largest single shareholder, Daimler-Benz took an 87% holding in the Auto Union company, and this was increased to a 100% holding in 1959. In the early 1960s, it saw major investment in new Mercedes models and in a state of the art factory for Auto Union's, the company's aging model range at this time did not benefit from the economic boom of the early 1960s to the same extent as competitor manufacturers such as Volkswagen and Opel. In 1964, Volkswagen acquired a 50% holding in the business. Eighteen months later, Volkswagen bought complete control of Ingolstadt, and by 1966 were using the spare capacity of the Ingolstadt plant to assemble an additional 60,000 Volkswagen Beetles per year. Initially, Volkswagen was hostile to the idea of Auto Union as a standalone entity producing its own models having acquired the company merely to boost its own production capacity.

In 1972, the resurrection of the Audi brand was complete which being followed by the first generation Audi 80. In 1967, the new NSU Ro 80 was a car well ahead of its time in technical details such as aerodynamics, light weight, and safety. However, teething problems with the rotary engines put an end to the independence of NSU. The Neckarsulm plant is now used to produce the larger Audi models A6 and A8. The Neckarsulm factory is also home of the "quattro GmbH", a subsidiary responsible for development and production of Audi high-performance models: the R8 and the "RS" model range.

 

History

In August 1928, Jørgen Rasmussen, the owner of Dampf-Kraft-Wagen acquired the majority of shares in Audiwerke AG. In the same year, Rasmussen bought the remains of the U.S. automobile manufacturer Rickenbacker, including the manufacturing equipment for eight-cylinder engines. These engines were used in Audi Zwickau and Audi Dresden models that were launched in 1929. In 1932, Audi merged with Horch, DKW, and Wanderer, to form Auto Union AG, Chemnitz. It was during this period that the company offered the Audi Front that became the first European car to combine a six-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive. Before World War II, Auto Union used the four interlinked rings that make up the Audi badge today, representing these four brands. The technological development became more and more concentrated and some Audi models were propelled by Horch and Wanderer built engines.

Overrun by the Soviet Army in 1945, on the orders of the Soviet Union military administration the factories were dismantled as part of war reparations. On 17 August 1948, Auto Union AG of Chemnitz was removed from the commercial registration. With no prospect of continuing production in Soviet-controlled East Germany, Auto Union executives began the process of relocating what was left of the company to West Germany. In 1949, the former Audi factory in Zwickau restarted assembly of the pre-war-models. These models were renamed to IFA F8 and IFA F9 and were similar to the West German versions.
 

On 1 January 1969, new merged company Audi NSU Auto Union AG was incorporated, with its headquarters at NSU's Neckarsulm plant, and saw the emergence of Audi as a separate brand for the first time since the pre-war era. Volkswagen introduced the Audi brand to the United States for the model year 1970. The Audi image at this time was a conservative one, and so, a proposal from chassis engineer Jörg Bensinger was accepted to develop the four-wheel drive technology in Volkswagen's Iltis military vehicle for an Audi performance car and rally racing car. In 1980, a performance car was introduced and was named the "Audi Quattro", a turbocharged coupé which was also the first German large-scale production vehicle to feature permanent all-wheel drive through a centre differential.

In 1985, with the Auto Union and NSU brands effectively dead, the company's official name was now shortened to simply Audi AG. In 1986, as the Passat-based Audi 80 was beginning to develop, the type 89 was introduced its image is kind of "grandfather's car". This completely new development sold extremely well. However, its modern and dynamic exterior belied the low performance of its base engine, and its base package was quite spartan. Audi set forth on a German racetrack to claim and maintain several world records, such as top speed endurance. In early 1990s, Audi began to shift its target market upscale to compete against German automakers Mercedes-Benz and BMW. So, in 1990, Audi V8 was introduced.

 

Audi e-tron

Audi is developing the next phase of technology in which they are developing the e-tron electric drive powertrain system. In March 2010, they have shown several concept cars, each with different levels of size and performance. The original e-tron concept shown at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show is based on the platform of the R8 and has been scheduled for limited production. Power is provided by electric motors at all four wheels. This concept is also considered to be the direction for a future mid-engined gas-powered 2-seat performance coupe. The Audi A1 e-tron concept, based on the Audi A1 production model, is a hybrid vehicle with a range extending Wankel rotary engine to provide power after the initial charge of the battery is depleted. It is the only concept of the three to have range extending capability. The car is powered through the front wheels, always using electric power.

 

 

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