Now part of VAG, Audi is an automobile maker in Germany. The company was founded in 1899 by August Horch. The first Horch automobile was produced by him in 1901. In 1910, Horch was forced out of the company, and it was renamed "Audi", which means "Listen!" in Latin (in German, "Horch" means the same) Horch formed a new venture, which in 1932 was merged with Audi, as well as DKW and Wanderer to form the Auto Union. The four intertwined rings that make up the Audi badge today represent these four brands. Following World War II, the company focused efforts on the DKW brand, waiting until September 1965 to bring back the Audi brand, when it introduced a 72-HP 4-door sedan.
Over the next thirty years Audi released a series of derivatives of this model at various horsepower ratings. This early set of releases culminated in the Audi 80, from which all subsequent generations descend. In 1986, as the Audi 80 was beginning to develop a kind of "grandfather's car" image, the type 89 was introduced. This completely new development hit the market like a bomb and sold extremely well. However, its modern and dynamic exterior belied the low performance of its base engine, and its base package was quite spartan (even the passenger-side mirror was an option.) In 1987, Audi put forward a new and very elegant Audi 90, which had a much superior set of standard features. In the early nineties, sales began to slump for the Audi 80 series, and some basic construction problems started to surface.
Audi's reputation over the years has been high performance and leading technology. The company has participated (and sometimes dominated) in numerous rallies and racing competitions. In 1980 the release of the Audi Quattro, a four wheel drive turbocharged car with no equal, that went on to win rallies and races worldwide and is considered as one of the most significant rally cars of all time as one of the first to take advantage of recently changed rules allowing for use of four-wheel-drive in competition. Many critics doubted the viability of racers, thinking them to be too heavy and complex, yet the Quattro was an instant success, winning its first rally on its first outing and continuing to win after win for the next two years.
Audi is the only car manufacturer that produces 100% galvanized vehicles (to prevent corrosion). An all-aluminum car was brought forward by Audi, and in 1997 the Audi A-8, which introduced an aluminum space frame technology. Audi introduced a new series of vehicles in the mid-nineties and continues to pursue leading-edge technology and high performance.
The motto of Audi is: Vorsprung durch Technik which translates to "Progress through Technology".