Often the logo we see of an automotive company has a deeper meaning behind it than just what you see. Some of the most complex logos such as Porsche and Alfa Romeo offer intricate histories and tell a story with that simple picture. Other logos are pretty simple to figure out such as the Ford oval but some simple logos actually have more meaning that you might expect. these logos can trace their history back nearly a century or more to show us what the thought process was when the logo became a reality that we see on the cars built by that company today.
One of the simplest logos that has a historical meaning is the one of Audi. Audi has for rings linked together. That’s all there is to their logo, but this is a symbol that’s been around for a long time. In fact, the Audi logo started to become what it is in 1932 when the creation of the Auto Union began. This was the combining of four different automakers that came together to create this new company and combine the strengths of each one to build a larger automotive company that could be one of the most impressive in the world.
One of the four that was one of the oldest automakers in the world was Horch. This company was founded in 1899 by August Horch. Eventually he left his own namesake company to create a new company called Audi. Both of these companies were part of the four and each had a ring in the logo. The name Horch is closely related to the German word for listen and Audi is the Latin translation of the same word to give you two parts of the four rings that were based upon the idea that you needed to listen when creating a great product.
The remaining two rings belonged to Wanderer which was a company that was founded in 1911 and DKW which was a steam-engine manufacturer that was founded in 1916 but began to build cars in 1928. These four came together to form what was known as the Auto Union and began to build cars together. The question remains as to how the Auto Union went from being what it was to simply becoming Audi and forever being the four ring logo brand that carried on as only one of the four names that were part of this early automotive partnership.
After World War II the company built motorcycles, cars and vans but it ran into financial problems in the mid-1950s and was bought by Daimler-Benz in 1958. Unfortunately this company had even more financial troubles after this time and was eventually sold to Volkswagen in 1964. Once VW took over Auto Union was selling cars under the Audi name until it acquired NSU in 1969. At that point it began to sell cars as Audi NSU Auto Union AG which was an awful name to put on a car and difficult to advertise.
Eventually the name was shortened in 1985 to Audi AG which it has since been shorted even more to be just Audi. What would have happened if one of the other names was in the first ring, early logo designs have Audi listed first, would we be looking at a lineup of luxury Horch models on the market today that we’d want to buy as much as we admire the Audi vehicles we see? Sometimes a logo and the history behind it show much more than meets the eye, which is absolutely the case with the four rings of the Audi brand.