Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Profile : Audi Company

The first Audi was manufactured in 1910. Named after the Latin version of founder's August Horch's last name (Horch means 'Hark!' in German), the company later merged with DKW, Horch (whom August originally founded and was later ousted), and Wanderer to form the Auto Union. Audi's now well-known "interlinking rings" represents those companies.

In the mid 1960s, Daimler-Benz obtained controlling shares of Auto Union which it sold to Volkswagen. Today's Audi AG would emerge in 1969, when Auto Union merged with NSU, a motorcycle manufacturer, to form "Audi NSU Auto Union AG". The company would later drop the Auto Union and NSU from its official moniker. (Volkswagen continues to be the parent company.)

The Audi 100 was the new company's first cars sold to the masses. Later cars included the Audi 80 and Audi 50. A report on CBS on the 100 (renamed the Audi 5000 in the U.S.), temporarily damaged the brand's reputation. Audi was seriously considering leaving the U.S. until rising sales in the Nineties changed its mind. Today, the brand is one of Europe's strongest with sedans such as the A4, A6, A8 and roadsters such as the TT. The brand is also associated with all-wheel drive through its quattro system which it developed in the '80s. The S4, S6, and S8, which are more powerful versions of the A4, 6, and 8, respectively, use quattro.

In 2006, Audi introduced the Q7, its first full-sized SUV. Audi's latest "supercar", the R8, goes on sale in 2008.

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