As we covered in our last blog post, Audi started with a vision in mind, to create reliable vehicles. As time went on they began transitioning to luxury and speed. Once they merged with four other companies, they began taking a new shape and producing cars that would be renowned the world over. Unfortunately, war completely destroyed everything that they had been working toward. Here at Luxury Import And Performance, we are dedicated to bringing you great information about the vehicles that you love to drive. So without further ado, here is part two of the history of Audi.
The War That Took Everything
World War II began and ended with turmoil for companies all over Germany. Like most every German manufacturing company during this time, the production plants were seized and began being used for military production. This also meant that these plants were frequently bombed and taken over by allied forces throughout the war. Luckily, the war in Germany ended only six years after it began, but it had caused lasting damage that would affect Audi for 20 years.
Once Germany lost the war, many of the production facilities were dismantled as part of the reparations that Germany had to pay. This meant that the four companies comprising the Auto Union of Audi would all have to find a new place to begin to produce their automobiles. The Auto Union chose Ingolstadt, Bavaria where they began producing cars that they had created from before the war.
A Reborn Audi
In 1949, the four companies were still splintered. While the DKW portion was working out of the Ingolstadt plant, they only had the real means to produce parts for other companies or to produce small motorcycles and delivery vans. At this stage in the companies life, there was simply not enough money to produce a plant that would allow the production of a large number of vehicles, until 1958, when an investor took notice.
When the investor, Daimler-Benz, began buying shares in the DKW and Audi brands, he built a shiny new factory for them to work out of as well. They went back to creating what they already knew. These were the automobiles that they had been producing from before World WarII. The 1960s saw an economic boom but unfortunately, these post-war DKW vehicles did not see growth. This prompted Daimler-Benz to sell DKW and Audi to a new owner. This time though, the sale would come with a new factory that was ready to produce. Under the new owner, all Auto Union vehicles would be under a single name, Audi.
New Owner, Different Issues
Audi as a brand was not fully allowed to do whatever they wanted to. Under new ownership, the brand was 50% owned by Volkswagen. Volkswagen had bought Audi, not because they wanted them to become their own brand, but because the new production facility would allow them to produce 60,000 more cars a year. Under Volkswagen, the Audi brand went through a few years where they were only allowed to make a range of vehicles that were pretty lackluster. They would create these vehicles aptly named after their horsepower ratings (Audi 60, 75, 80, super 90) until early 1972.
Once 1972 rolled around, Volkswagen began cracking down on the Audi name. They disallowed the brand from releasing any new vehicles and instead shifted the vehicle production to being completely Volkswagen centric. This made the Audi engineers nervous because they feared the brand would have no future and after 6 months of hiatus they began the development of the Audi 100 in secret. Volkswagen found out about the prototype, but instead of being angry they were impressed. Production on the 100 quickly began and was met with huge success.
From Conservative To Luxury
Following the success of the Audi 100, Volkswagen became less hesitant and more excited about the Audi brand. They even took the design of the Audi 50 and began using it for the start of another successful car, the Volkswagen Golf. Volkswagen now trusted Audi as a brand and allowed them to create cars that were no longer conservative.
In 1980, an engineer working at Audi at the time came up with a 4-wheel drive concept that would change Audi from a conservative brand into a company known for its speedy and well-designed vehicles. They came up with the Audi Quattro. This vehicle would show the world that an all-wheel-drive vehicle could have success in the racing scene and the brand became associated with advances in the automobile industry.
Audi 5000 Recalls
From 1972 to 1986, things were looking up for Audi as a brand. That was until the Audi 5000 began having issues. The vehicle would suddenly accelerate, eventually causing more than 7,000 accidents and six deaths. The resulting failures of the car began to tarnish the reputation of the vehicles and resulted in a drop in sales from 74,000 cars to 12,000 cars sold in only a year. This would have lasting effects on the company as it would not see a sales jump for nearly 15 years. The Audi 5000 was completely reworked and renamed to the Audi 100 and sales began to rise again in the year 2000.
Audi has a long and storied history with many ups and downs. The one thing that has remained consistent since the early 1960s has been the pursuit of pushing technological advancements in the car industry. The luxury vehicles sell extremely well and have been touted by many people to be one of the best cars to drive at their respective price points. They still produce rally and race vehicles that win events worldwide. Audi is even making strides toward creating a new plant to fund the production of electric vehicles. Audi has ten production plants currently producing cars around the world.
We hope that you enjoyed the history of Audi. The vehicles are one of our favorites which is why we offer import auto repair for Audi. If your Audi is having issues we can gladly help fix it. Contact us today so we can get your car going as soon as possible!