In 1899, August Horch founded a company called Horch & Co. With the help of fifteen skilled employees, he invented his very first motor car. In less than a decade, he parted ways with the company that he’d founded for commercial reasons and started another company: Audi.
Horch in Latin translates to Audi. August Horch wanted to build cars under his own name, hence the name he chose for his new venture. By 1910 the Audi brand were consistently producing vehicles, and this trend continued until The Great War.
Throughout the First World War Audi produced vehicles for the war effort, but the recession of the 1920’s almost put an end to his company. Horch left the firm, and from 1927 to 1930 the firm continued to battle hard times. By 1931, the management decided that to ensure the continuing survival of the brand, Audi would have to merge with other manufacturers. This saw the creation of the Audi Union. This union had great success until the Second World War when the Americans began a campaign of subduing the Germans, and eventually winning the war.
In 1958, Daimler-Benz took an 87% holding in the Auto Union Company, which then increased to 100% in 1959. The business at this point wasn’t overly profitable, and as such the Auto Union was disbanded, allowing the company to revert back to its original name, Audi.
1964 saw Volkswagen acquire a 50% stake in Audi and by 1966 Volkswagen were using the Audi plant to assemble an extra sixty thousand Volkswagen Beetle cars every single year. In 1970 Volkswagen introduced the Audi brand to the USA. However, the next few decades saw Audi struggle to cement its brand with consumers considering that the vehicles were only suitable for grandfathers.
This all changed in the 1990’s with Audi shifting its focus to selling vehicles to a younger demographic. Bodywork was re-styled to be more aerodynamic and aesthetically-appealing. These factors, when coupled with enhance performance, saw the Audi brand grow to appeal to a much larger demographic.
The last decade or so has seen the Audi brand grow exponentially. With six separate manufacturing plants around the world, the brand has grown to rival, if not overtake BMW and Mercedes as the German can manufacturer of consumer choice.