October 12, 1868 – Audi founder is born

On this day in 1868 in the village of Winningen, Rhenish Prussia, 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.

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.” It was the perfect name.

Above: Audi Type A. By Bildergalerie – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Top August Horch in Horch automobile in 1908.

The first car under the Audi name was launched in 1910 as the Type A. It has a 2600 cc four cylinder engine and a top speed of about 75 kilometers per hour (47 mph). The following year Audi introduced the Type B. Only 360 were built.


August Horch left Audi in 1920 and worked a remained in Berlin while writing 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.

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