The Audi marque has gone through many years of tough development and ultimately became one the most excellent brands in the class of executive vehicles. Audi owes much to its “founding father” August Horch – a German engineer and industrialist who first coined the name of the brand and who had been engaged in automaking since 1901. The first Audi was assembled in 1909 – Typ A 10/22/PS. It was, if not a groundbreaking automobile, but at least a very successful motor racing participant, winning Alpine Trial from 1911 through 1914. Typ C also distinguished itself as an “Alpensieger” (Alpine Victor). In 1913 Audi was one of the most advanced automotive producers, fitting its vehicles with electric lighting and starter motors.
In the 1920s August Horch resigned, leaving the company with consortium of directors. The largest controlling stake was held by Danish-born engineer Jorgen Skafte Rasmussem who took on producing cars under the DKW brand which eclipsed the original Audi. The DKW-branded cars were of no originality. Amidst the economic crisis of the 1930s the Auto Union was created as a result of Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer merger. Unfortunately, the 1933 Audi Front had no success despite combining Wanderer engine featuring front-wheel-drive, DKW running gear and Horch body design. From 1940 Auto Union started supplying military vehicles and engines.
Only in the 1960s, after its acquisition by Volkswagen AG Audi produced its first post-war car – Audi F103 with a four-stroke engine instead of two-stroke. It was an executive sedan available in 2 and 4-door modifications, or 3-door station-wagon. The F series became a relative success for the marque in comparison to previously released cars. Since then Audi has been involved in developing more and more modernized models. The successor of the F series became Audi 80 (B1, 2, 3 and 4) which proved to be successful and popular, especially the B4 model. It constituted a transition to newer, streamline styling which led to subsequent apparition of A4 range in 1994 which offered brand new 4-door sedan and 5-door station wagon.
Audi’s participation in motor racing is another historical milestone worth mentioning. The 1988 Audi 200 Quattro Trans Am was a prominent member of NASCAR races equipped with turbocharged all-wheel drive 2.1 L 510 HP engine and 6-speed transmission. It demonstrated a jaw-dropping performance with 8 victories out of 13, driven by Hurley Haywood, Walter Rohrl and Hans-Joachim Stuck. In 1999Audi debuted in 24 hours of Le Mans series, presenting its R8C and R8R prototypes. Up to the present day Audi have constructed 7 prototype models, the latest being R18 E-tron Quattro introduced in 2011 and which is about to take part in the 2015 World Endurance Championship.
Audi brand can’t be listed as one of the best-selling ones, but it offers quite a broad range of upmarket vehicles, including compact and full-size executive sedans, sports cars and SUVs.