HARK! Gather round, all automotive connoisseurs, all lovers of vehicles with history, and fanatics of all things Audi. Listen, you are aware that there are countless automotive brands in existence today. It would be a neat party trick to name every single one of them, but, frankly, that is probably impossible. There are just too many brands of cars!
But not all brands are the same. In fact, not all brands have the kind of long-standing history and devotion to making and developing vehicles that others do have. Ford, Volkswagen, Peugeot, Toyota, and BMW; are just some of the brands that have long-standing histories, pasts worth looking into, and stories worth being told.
Audi is no different. Not only was Audi founded in the 19th Century, and not only is the brand over 100 years old, but it has a story worth being told, worth being etched into the annals of automotive legacy. Their dedication to advancement and innovation alone is something to behold, but, in this humble article, we are going to learn just how this great brand was given its unforgettable name.
Four Rings United
Let’s rewind to the early 1900s when four separate companies were doing their best to accomplish something in the world of mechanics and engineering.
Audi, that infamous name, was the first company to come together to create the brand that we know and love to this day. In 1909, August Horch created Audi, but could not name the company after himself for competitive reasons. But his name, translated into Latin, is Audi. His name, Horch, in German means “Hark” or “Listen”. In 1910, the company began trading as Audi Automobilwerke GmbH.
The second company, DKW, originally named Rasmussen & Ernst, founded by Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen, was dabbling in the art of steam-powered vehicles. In fact, DKW stands for Dampfkraftwagen (steam-powered vehicle).
The third company, Horch, founded in 1899 by August Horch, a leading automotive engineer at the time, was a big reason that Audi was able to flourish. in 1904, the company became a joint-stock company.
The last company, and certainly not the least important one, Wanderer, founded by Johann Baptist Winklhofer and Richard Adolf Jaenicke, was but a modest bicycle mechanic before they began making motorcycles in 1902. They started branching out into the car scene in 1913.
The Auto Union AG, Chemnitz
On June 29, 1932, after merging and purchasing and other legal actions, the four founding companies became one. Audiwerke, Horchwerke, and Zschopauer Motorenwerke J. S. Rasmussen AG (DKW) were finally one company, merged on the initiative of the State Bank of Saxony to form Auto Union AG. The brand emblem was created to symbolize the company’s unbreaking unity with each others.
Each of the four brands was responsible for a different area of expertise: DKW was to oversee motorcycles and small cars; Wanderer was to oversee midsize cars; Audi was to oversee cars in the deluxe midsize segment; and Horch, arguably the most experienced of the group, was to handle the luxury cars.
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