August Horch was a German engineer and the founding father of the Audi brand. Horch’s career in the automotive industry began once he received a degree in engineering and then went on to become a production manager for Daimler and Benz.
Between the hands on experience he gained from working as a production manager and his engineering degree Horch went on to start A. Horch & Cie. in 1899. By 1901 Horch & Cie. sold its first car. Horch cars were different than what the larger automotive brands were producing. Horch believed, if it can be made by man, it can be made better by man. The Horch automobile was the first car to have a four-cylinder engine; the company also went on to produce a six-cylinder engine.
Due to financial strain Horch & Cie. became a joint stock company. After a dispute in 1909 with the other shareholders August Horch was forced to step down from the company he had built. Horch went on to start his second automobile company.
Because of a trademark issue he was not however allowed to use his last name. Horch means listen in German, a business colleague’s son who had been studying Latin suggested Horch name his company Audi, the Latin word for listen.
In 1911 Horch entered an Audi in the International Austrian Alpine Run and it won first place. This encouraged Horch to enter an Audi racing team that had great success, winning the trophy three years in a row; this triumph gave Audi international recognition. This was only the begging of the iconic Audi racing legacy.
The First World War marked the end of the road of August Horch’s involvement in the Audi brand.
In 1928 DKW acquired a 51% stake in Audi; four years later DKW and Audi merged with A. Horch & Cie. and Wanderer. The four companies formed Auto Union AG. The Audi four ring emblem symbolizes the coming together of the four brands. Each brand contained to sell and market vehicles under their own name; they each brought their own unique talents to the Auto Union and filled different market segments.
Unfortunately due to the Second World War production was put to a halt. The Auto Union AG factory was used for military purposes and ultimately suffered great damage. In 1945 the Soviet Union completely dismantled the Auto Union AG factory and removed the company from the Commercial Registry.
…stay tuned to learn how Audi rose above these circumstances to become one of the leading luxury brands in the world.