Entire Audi History
AUDI AG (Xetra: NSU) is a German manufacturer of automobiles marketed under the Audi brand.
The company is headquartered in Ingolstadt Bavaria and has been a wholly-owned (99.55%) subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen AG) since 1964. Volkswagen Group relaunched the Audi brand with the 1965 introduction of the Audi 60 range. Shortly thereafter the name was acquired as part of Volkswagen’s purchase of the Auto Union assets from former owner, Daimler-Benz.
The company name is based on the surname of the founder August Horch, the name itself a German cognate with the English word “hark”, meaning listen — which when translated into Latin, becomes Audi.
The company traces its origins back to 1899 and August Horch. The first Horch automobile was produced in 1901 in Zwickau.
In 1909, Horch was forced out of the company he had founded. He then started a new company in Zwickau and continued using the Horch brand.
His former partners sued him for trademark infringement and the German Supreme Court (Reichsgericht in Berlin) finally determined that the Horch brand belonged to his former company.
Horch was barred from using his own family name in his new car business, so he called a meeting with his best business friends, Paul and Franz Fikentscher from Zwickau. At the apartment of Franz Fikentscher they discussed how to come up with a new name for his company. During this meeting Franz’s son was quietly studying Latin in a corner of the room.
Several times he looked like he was on the verge of saying something but would just swallow his words and continue working, until he finally blurted out, “Father – audiatur et altera pars… wouldn’t it be a good idea to call it audi instead of horch?” “Horch!” in German means “Hark!” or “hear”, which is “Audi” in Latin (compare audible).
The idea was enthusiastically accepted by everyone attending the meeting. It is sometimes incorrectly said that AUDI is a acronym which stands for “Auto Union Deutschland Ingolstadt”, but this is merely a clever backronym and not the true origin of the company name.
Audi started with a 2,612 cc (2.6 liter) four cylinder model[clarification needed] followed by a 3564 cc (3.6 L) model, as well as 4680 cc (4.7 L) and 5720 cc (5.7L) models. These cars were successful even in sporting events. The first six cylinder model,[clarification needed] 4655 cc (4.7 L) appeared in 1924.
August Horch left the Audi company in 1920 for a high position at the ministry of transport, but he was still involved with Audi as a member of the board of trustees. In September 1921, Audi became the first German car manufacturer to present a production car, the Audi Type K, with left-handed drive.
Left-hand drive spread and established dominance during the 1920s because it provided a better view of oncoming traffic, making overtaking maneuvers safer.