August 16, 1909 – The beginning of Audi

On this day in 1909 August Horch left Motorwagenwerke, the first automaker he founded and started a new company in Zwickau, Germany, August Horch Automobilwerke GmbH, what would later be known as Audi. A trademark infrigement ensued because Horch was using his own name in the new company but the courts decided his name belonged to the company he was no longer part of. He needed a new name. During a meeting with friends at an apartment to discuss a new name. Franz Fikentscher, hosted the meeting while his son was quietly studying Latin in a corner of the room. On multiple occasions his son looked as if he something to say but would just swallow his words and continue studying. He finally stated, “Father – audiatur et altera pars… wouldn’t it be a good idea to call it audi instead of horch?” “Horch!” in German means “Hark!” which translates to “hear,” which is “Audi” in the singular imperative form of “audire” – “to listen” – in Latin. The idea was enthusiastically accepted by everyone attending the meeting. So while the company was originally founded on July 16, 1909, the name became Audi on April 25, 1910. While the company began producing cars, this isn’t the end of the beginning. In 1932, Audi merged with Horch, DKW and Wanderer, to form Auto Union AG, Chemnitz. Before World War II, Auto Union used the four interlinked rings that make up the Audi badge today, representing these four automakers on Auto Union racing cars. During this time the member companies used their own names and logos on their vehicles. However, due to war time pressure and other focuses, the Audi name disappeared completely from the new car market in 1939 and wouldn’t return for 26 years.Volkswagen bought 50 percent of the company in 1964 and reintroduced the Audi name in 1965. It would bring Audi to America in 1970 and the rest, as they say, is history.  Photos
The first Audi, the type A, produced 1910-1912
1970 Audi ad

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