Audi were initially formed in 1910 when they released the Type B in 1910 but it wasn’t until they merged with Horch, Wanderer and DJW to form Auto Union in 1932 that the company really took off. As Auto Union they created the first European car that combined a six cylinder engine with front-wheel drive. Auto Union vehicles also featured the trademark four rings that are present on Audi cars today.
In 1921 Audi became the first German car manufacturer of a production car, the hugely successful Audi Type K. Throughout the 20s and 30s the company continued to grow, expanding fourfold in size between 1932 and 1938. By the end of the decade Audi were responsible for 27% of Germany’s motor vehicle exports and the firm released the 741cc 3 cylinder DKW Junior in 1959 to critical acclaim. Its successor the F12 was launched in 1963 with a more up to date design and front disc brakes, a new feature at the time. Due to the success of the DKW Junior Audi enjoyed a renewed popularity.
The company have also enjoyed success in areas outside of the consumer market. Audi has released successful rallying cars such as the Quattro, which is considered one of the most significant rally cars of all time due to its groundbreaking use of four wheel drive in competition racing. They also have a successful history in sports cars, including the Bentley Speed 8s, which have been used to compete in championship events such as Le Mans. The company are planning on unveiling a new Audi compact hatchback with a ‘dual charged’ engine at the Paris Motor Show. This new engine is the first in an Audi road car that employs both supercharging and turbocharging.
Audi are currently developing the ‘e-tron electric drive powertrain system’. This project focuses on creating efficient electric vehicles. The flagship car is the Audi a1 e-ron, which has a top speed of 81mph and is considered a zero emissions vehicle over a distance of 31 miles in city traffic. They are also set to release a new model of the R8 Spyder.