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October 12, 1868 – Audi founder is born

On this day in 1868 in the village of Winningen, Rhenish Prussia, a child named August Horch came into the world, and with him, a future bright in automotive engineering and a lasting legacy. After receiving a degree in engineering, Horch worked for Karl Benz from 1896 until he founded A. Horch & Co. in 1899 in Cologne, Germany, desiring to build his own cars. Following a dispute with investors Horch left his own company and set up a competing automaker, this time called Horch Automobil-Werke GmbH.

1910-1912 Audi Type A, the first Audi model. By Bildergalerie – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Legal action soon denied him use of the Horch name on his new vehicles, as it was still a registered trademark of his former partners. Horch and his new financiers gathered at his home to discuss new names. Horch’s son was studying latin nearby when he piped up with the suggestion Audi,  the Latinization of Horch, both of which mean “to listen.”

1935 Auto Union Type B

Horch left Audi in 1920 and worked a variety of jobs around Berlin, as well as publishing his autobiography, I Built Cars. He would also serve on the board of Auto Union, the successor of Audi Automobilwerke GmbH. Horch passed away in Bavaria in 1951.

Cover: August Horch in a Horch automobile in 1908 – By Bundesarchiv, Bild.

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