Audi AG
The roots of Audi AG reach back to November 14, 1899, when August Horch founded August Horch & Cie in Cologne. Acquitting himself with distinction in the double role of businessman and technician, he early acquired hands-on knowledge of the new and rapidly-developing technology of the automobile. Many of the ideas he tried to realize while he was still working for his former employer Carl Benz finally came to fruition. In 1900 Horch built his first car, equipped with a shock-free two-cylinder engine. Shortly afterwards he developed the rear-mounted gear-box and the OHV engine with overhead inlet valves.

The direct successor of the "Alpensieger" was christened simply the "Audi Type K". It was an elegant machine, built for the discriminating tastes of an elite. Indeed it was furnished with no small number of technical innovations. After 1921 left-hand steering, first introduced at the Berlin Automobile Exhibition, became standard in the series. The central position of the gear-shift was also new, as were a host of features, such as the tachometer and collapsible steering wheel, previously found only in sports cars.

A watershed date in Audi's history was June 29, 1932. That was when Audi joined Horch, DKW and the Wanderer Automobile Department to become the AUTO UNION AG, under the sign of the four rings. The joint Chemnitz-based firm was soon to become the second largest manufacturer of motor vehicles in Germany. The symbol of four linked rings, now known the world over, stood for the unbreakable union of the four founder companies. Within a few years, the firm's models took on a uniform profile as chassis frames were standardized and all four manufacturers began to use the same constructive elements. An outstanding example of aerodynamic form appeared in the streamlined body that became a recognizable feature of the DKW and Horch automobiles in 1939.

The F 89 L was the first postwar German vehicle produced at the new AUTO UNION works in Ingolstadt, Bavaria. The idea behind it was to develop a vehicle with a front mounted steering assembly and a larger interior to meet the transportation needs of the postwar period. At the spring exposition in Hanover, the DKW two-stroke rapid transport vehicle was introduced. By the end of the year over 500 of these - and as many motorcycles - had been manufactured. These models were all marked with a W for "West" to distinguish them from similar models being produced in Saxony, in East Germany.

On March 10, 1969, a contract was signed uniting AUTO UNION GmbH and NSU Motor Works AG and establishing a new joint company, AUDI NSU AUTO UNION AG, with head offices in Neckarsulm, in Swabia. A new marketing strategy was devised for the new combined firm, and heavy investment indicated that from now on growth was going to be top priority. One explicit strategic goal was the gradual opening up of the luxury car market. The overall aim remained well expressed by "Vorsprung durch Technik" ("Advancement through Technology").

On January 1, 1985, the name AUDI NSU AUTO UNION AG was shortened to AUDI AG. Its several makes and companies were united under the head office at Ingolstadt. At the same time modernized production methods spurred a new quality consciousness. In December 1986 a Quality Center was opened at Ingolstadt, where highly trained specialists now inspect and control every product to guarantee the highest quality.

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