Lamborghini (Italy)
Ducati (Italy)
Audi, Lamborghini
Location Headquarters: Ingolstadt

Main plants:
Germany: Ingolstadt (A3, A4, A5, Q5), Neckarsulm (A4, A5 Cabriolet, A6, A7, A8, R8)
Hungary: Gyor (TT, A3 Cabriolet)
Belgium: Brussels (A1)
China: Changchun FAW-VW (A4, A6, Q5)
(note: Q3 built by Seat in Spain; Q7 built by VW in Slovakia)
Sales figures
2017: 1,878,105 units
2016: 1,867,738 units
1,803,246 units
2014: 1,741,129 units
2013: 1,575,480 units
2012: 1,455,123 units
2011: 1,302,659 units
1,092,411 units
2009: 950,000 units
2008: 1,003,400 units
2007: 964,151 units
2006: 905,188 units
2005: 829,100 units
2004: 779,441 units
2003: 769,893 units

2017 production by models:
A1: 95,346 units
Q2: 102,084 units
A3: 313,479 units
Q3: 205,001 units
A4: 325,307 units
A5: 119,595 units
Q5: 289,892 units
A6: 259,618 units
A7: 16,968 units
Q7: 106,847 units
Q8: 436 units
A8: 15,854 units
TT: 22,174 units
R8: 3,179 units
Introduction Audi is the jewel of the crown within Volkswagen group as well as the driving force of growth. Until the mid-1990s, Audi cars were still seen as poor man's Mercedes or BMWs. However, since the 1996 A4 and then the head-turning TT, Audi has established itself as a leader in style and quality. Its technology also shines in powerful turbocharged engines, quattro 4WD, aluminum spaceframe chassis and advanced transmissions. Now Audi has become a strong premium brand like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Brief History
Mass production had not arrived German auto industry until the birth of Volkswagen. In the 1930s, German car makers were still concentrating on making luxury cars in limited numbers. Daimler-Benz was the number one car maker in Germany. Four other small car makers, namely Audi, Horch, Wanderer and DKW, merged in 1932 to form Auto Union. They adopted a 4-ring logo, which presented the four companies. This was seen as the forerunner of Audi.

Although Auto Union was described as the second largest car maker in Germany, it was little known to the rest of the world except for its mid-engined GP car designed by Ferdinand Porsche. Car production stopped during WWII when it was converted to build military vehicles. Its factories were heavily bombed as a result.

1936-37 Auto Union Type C GP car

After the war, Auto Union was reestablished at Ingolstadt. As Germany's economy was poor, it changed to produce cheap cars powered by 2-stroke engines. Daimler-Benz acquired it in 1958 but did little to it.

In 1965, Volkswagen bought it from Daimler and enlarged its factory to build the popular Beetle. More money was invested to develop a new four-stroke engine and new cars. Further help came in 1969 when it merged with NSU, which was renowned for engineering innovations, to form Audi NSU Auto Union. It developed its first mass production models, Audi 80 and Audi 100, which would continue evolving to today's A4 and A6. In 1985, the company was renamed to simply Audi.

1980 Audi Quattro

During the 1980s, Audi tried to use its Quattro 4WD technology and rally success to distinguish itself from mainstream brands. Entering 1990s, it adopted a new strategy to position itself directly against BMW and Mercedes as a premium German marque. A lot of efforts were made to upgrade its technology, build quality and styling. On the other hand, components and platforms sharing with Volkswagen group reduced its costs, allowing it to spend more money into R&D to catch up its rivals. It added Audi V8 (then renamed to A8) as top of the line model in 1998.
A3 (derived from Volkswagen Golf) joined in 1996 to broaden its low-end offering. Then more coupes, sports cars and crossover vehicles entered the scene in the new millenium. Lamborghini was bought in 1998 and integrated successfully into its operation.

1994 Audi A4

Thanks to the enhanced image and strong product lineup, sales of Audi grew steadily during 2000s. In 2008, its sales broke 1 million units for the first time.

Copyright© 1997-2018 by Mark Wan
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