A Look At How Audi Dealerships Began

Audi is a prestigious brand, fortunate to maintain a world class reputation built on a long history of quality engineering and outstanding innovation. As a result of this success, it’s fair to assume that Audi dealerships around the world are proud to sit underneath the four trademark rings, spanning over a century of trade.

Audi is one of Germany’s oldest car manufacturers, dating back to 1889 when August Horch first established A Horch & Cie. Twelve years later in 1901, Horch launched his first car. In a bid to expand the company three years later, the company issued some shares to raise funds however a dispute broke out with the board over the name of the company and Horch ended up leaving in 1909 to set up his own company.

Little did he know it at the time, this perhaps turned out to be Horch’s smartest career move. The company he set up was called Audiwerke GmbH (the Latin translation for Horch) and by 1910, the Audi brand had been created.

In 1912 Audiwerke test drove their first car, the Wanderer and after successful trials, the car went into production in 1913. A year later Audi won the Alpine Challenge Trophy, highly regarded as one of the most famous races of the era.

The company continued to achieve success and by 1921, Audi dealerships launched the first German manufactured left hand drive car, the Audi Type K.
A few years later, the Audi name was bought by J S Rasmussen, who acquired a majority shareholding in Audiwerke AG. This led to Audi merging with four other German car manufacturers from the Saxony area. In 1932, Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer united to form Auto Union AG.

The development of one company allowed resources from each manufacturer to be pulled together to meet consumer demands to a higher standard, supplying a greater range of vehicles, from motorcycles up to luxury saloons. The unison of these four companies continues to be represented today by one the most highly recognised logos of all time, the 4 rings of Audi.

Despite a successful merge, the second world war put the future of the company in jeopardy. Civilian production was put on hold to make way for the exclusive manufacturing of military vehicles. Once the war was over, the Auto Union AG plant was heavily bombed and the company was removed from the Commercial register. However, the Audi brand was saved as companies such as Volkswagen kick-started the Auto Union. By 1949, the company was reformed as Auto Union GmbH Audi and two years later, the first car of the new brand was produced, the DKW Meisterklasse.

Eight years later, Daimler-Benz brought out Auto Union and by 1966 the company was bought by Volkswagenwek AG. As a result production turned to the manufacturing of the four-stroke engine, which Daimler-Benz has previously produced. It was this engine that, married with the DKW F 102 became associated with the brand Audi.

In 1968, Audi dealerships released a top selling car, the Audi 100 which was to be the yard stick by which the new Audi range was to measured against. In 1969, the Auto Union saw the entry of one more member NSU, which was one of the world’s largest producers of motorcycles. This led to Audi dealerships producing their first small car on the forecourt, the Audi 50 which later led to the creation of one of the most popular small vehicles, the Volkswagen polo. Launching into new territories, the Audi Quattro was thrown into the market in 1980 as the first performance car with four-wheel drive.

By 1970’s had really started to put the Audi brand on the map, with the launch of the Audi 80, a huge success selling over a million vehicles over six years. With such success, a new headquarters was required and a transfer was made to Ingolstadt.
The reputation of Audi that has developed and expanded over the past century has allowed them to challenge both BMW and Mercedes as the most prestige car manufacturer in the market.

The cars for sale today at Audi dealerships are very different to what was available of the forecourts when the company first formed, many of which were used in sporting events. Today, consumers can purchase Audi cars for all occasions within a variety of price brackets, all sold with a guarantee of excellence.

Dominic Donaldson is an expert in the car industry.
Find out more about the Audi Dealerships and the long running history of the four rings of Audi.
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