Audi is a luxury car manufacturer established in 1910, with its headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany. The company derives its name from the surname of its founder August Horch, meaning listen — which, when translated into Latin, becomes Audi.
After being forced out of the company he had founded in 1909, Horch, then started a new company in Zwickau and continued using the Horch brand. The first Audi automobile, the Audi Type A 10/22 hp (16 kW) Sport-Phaeton, was produced in 1910 in Zwickau. His former partners sued him for trademark infringement and the German Supreme Court (Reichsgericht in Berlin) finally determined that the Horch brand belonged to his former company.
August Horch was barred from using his own family name in his new car business, so he met with his best business friends, Paul and Franz Fikentscher from Zwickau. At Fikentscher’s apartment, they discussed how to come up with a new name for the company. During this meeting Fikentscher’s son was quietly studying Latin in a corner of the room. Several times he looked like he wanted to say something but couldn’t, until he finally blurted out, "Father - audiatur et altera pars... wouldn't it be a good idea to call it Audi instead of horch?" "Horch!" in German means "Hark!" or "hear", which is "Audi" in Latin. The idea was enthusiastically accepted by everyone attending the meeting.
Horch left Audi in 1920 for a higher position at the ministry of transport, but was still involved with Audi as a member of the board of trustees. In September 1921, Audi became the first German car manufacturer to present a production car, the Audi Type K, with left-handed drive.
Audi cars were successful even in sporting events. Audi has competed in numerous forms of motorsports. Audi’s rich tradition in motorsport began with their former company Auto Union in the 1930s. In the 1990s, Audi dominated the Touring and Super Touring categories of motor racing after success in circuit racing in North America.
In 1980, Audi released the Quattro, a four-wheel drive (4WD) turbocharged car that went on to win rallies and races worldwide. It is considered one of the most significant rally cars of all time, because it was one of the first to take advantage of the then-recently changed rules which allowed the use of four-wheel drive in competition racing. Many critics doubted the viability of four-wheel drive racers, thinking them to be too heavy and complex, yet the Quattro was to become a successful car. Leading its first rally it went off the road, however the rally world had been served notice, 4WD was the future. The Quattro went on to achieve much success in the World Rally Championship.
The carmaker became a subsidiary of automobile giant Volkswagen Group in 1964. Today, it has production locations in a number of countries, including Hungary, Brazil, Belgium and China.
Audi came to India and set up its own sales company in 2007. With the aim to cater to the rich consumers, Audi entered the Indian automobile business and began its operations as a subsidiary of Mumbai-based Volkswagen Group Sales India Pvt. Ltd. Audi, currently assembles most of its vehicles in India. These cars are brought through the Completely Knocked Down kits (CKD) and assembled at the Aurangabad facility of Skoda, while a few models are imported as Completely Built Units (CBU).
By establishing Audi India as a Division of Volkswagen Group Sales India Pvt. Ltd. in Mumbai, Audi has made a clear long-term statement in the country with ambitious growths plans. Audi is currently leading the luxury vehicles segment in India when it comes to sales. The company has an enviable range of SUVs, sedans and sports cars.