Today's AUDI AG looks back at a history that spans more than 100 years of automobile construction. An exciting voyage through time that started in the late 19th century. The Saxon brands of Audi and Horch from Zwickau, Wanderer from Chemnitz and DKW from Zschopau played a decisive role in motor vehicle development in Germany. These four brands amalgamated in 1932 to form Auto Union AG – with the sign of the four rings.
1901-1918The pioneering era for the automobile. At first it was a technical toy for the affluent. Then, at the start of the 20th century, the motor car began to develop into a serious competition for the horse-drawn carriage.
1918-1932From small-scale manufacture to large-scale production. Despite inflation and the global economic crisis, the automobile – and in particular the motorcycle – enjoyed a period of continuously growing popularity in the 1920s. Modern production methods from the USA also allowed the German middle classes access to the motor car.
1932-1945Motorway construction and individual transportation. With the end of the global economic crisis, private usage of the automobile gained importance. Large-scale production became the focus of industrial activities. Audi, DKW, Horch and the automotive department of the Wanderer factory merged in 1932 to form Auto Union AG. This created the second largest motor vehicle group in Germany.
1945-1965This period was characterised by the austerity of the immediate post-war years any by the German economic miracle of the 1950s. For Auto Union, it meant the loss of its Saxon home and the rebuilding of DKW production in Ingolstadt, Bavaria and in Düsseldorf in the Rhineland.
1965-1990Mass motorisation and the oil crisis. The automobile is the Germans' favourite child. At Auto Union, the era of the DKW automobile with 2-stroke engine drew to a close. The new Audi with a 4-stroke engine was launched. In 1969, Audi merged with NSU. Ever since then, the slogan "Vorsprung durch Technik" has accompanied the successful development of the four rings on the path to becoming a premium manufacturer.