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Audi, the Ingolstadt (Germany) based automaker, is known for its high-end luxury cars. Since it was founded in 1909, the company has grown to become one of the most recognizable brands in the world, thanks to its strong design identity, exemplary racing pedigree and its use of cutting edge technology.

While the popularity of Audi continues to reach new markets and demographics, there is still a lot about the company that most of us didn’t know. In this article, we point out 12 cool facts about Audi for every car lover around the world.

1. The Name Audi means “Hear” in Latin

That’s why words such as “audio,” “audience” and “auditorium” are related to hearing. The German word for “hear” is Horch. The more surprising thing is that the founder of Audi is August Horch — is that a coincidence or what?

August Horch founded his first company with his partner called “A. Horch and Cie”, but due to copyright infringement and legal issues, August Horch had to remove “Horch” from the company’s name and ultimately “Audi” was selected as the final name which means “listen”.

2. The four rings in the Audi logo represent the four companies of the Auto Union

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Photo: germanluxurycars.wordpress.com

Audi’s four rings are representative of the merger of the four companies that made up Auto Union: Audi, Horch, DKW, and Wanderer. Auto Union used the same branding that we see in Audi cars today before World War II. However, the badge was only used on Auto Union racing cars. While that was, each of the four companies that merged together were using their own emblems on the cars they manufactured. You can see how big of a confusion that must’ve been, but remember that there were a lot fewer manufactured cars during that time, so the confusion would’ve been mild.

3. There Was No Audi After World War II

Like many auto companies, the Auto Union turned its focus on military production at the onset of World War II. After the war, almost all of the company’s assets were seized by the Soviets who went on to control East Germany.

In 1948, Auto Union’s factory in Chemnitz was dismantled. The following year the company founded its West German headquarters in Ingolstadt, Bavaria called Auto Union GmbH.

With Germany’s post-war economy beginning to improve, the re-formed Auto Union started to manufacture motorcycles and delivery vans under the DKW name. In 1958 Daimler-Benz took over Auto Union as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

4. The Owner of Audi was a Blacksmith

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The founder of Audi, August Horch, was a German engineer who started working as a blacksmith. Before working under Karlz Benz, he worked in shipbuilding. He worked for Mercedes Benz for three years before starting his own venture. Before the production of Audi, Horch manufactured A. Horch and Cie in 1899, so Audi wasn’t his first manufacturing company.

5. Audi Was the Second Company to Introduce the Left-Hand Drive Cars

In September 1921, Audi introduced the Type K at the Berlin Motor Show. Up until this point, Audi only used pre-war designs on all its cars. The Type K was the first post-war design. It’s considered to be one of the most technically advanced cars of its time. It had top speeds of up to 95 km/h or 59 m/h. But the most important feature of this car that would make history was the fact that it was the first German car that introduced the left-hand drive. Being the first of its kind, it was a revolutionary feat. Eventually, due to its function and popularity, this feature became the standard in all cars from the 20s.

6. The Most Expensive Audi

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Photo: roadandtrack.com

The Auto Union Type-D is the most valuable Audi that was produced on the demand of Hitler in 1930 to show the world how much Germany has progressed in the automobile industry. Actually, Ferdinand Porsche suggested Hitler that he should hold a competition between Audi and Mercedes, the biggest rivals. As a result, the Auto Union Type-D was produced. This was sold for 12 million euros back then.

7. An Audi Named Shelley Scaled Pikes with No Driver

Pikes Peak is an extremely tough and dangerous area to do car racing, and many race cars have been seen falling off the mountains. Audi decided to go up the Pikes Peak in their self-made car named, ‘Shelley”. This self-driving Audi car climbed the 147-bend Pikes Peak without any trouble and driver, in 2010. It was named after Michèle Mouton who was the first woman to win the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, as well as the World Rally Championship. It was the car’s GPS that enabled the vehicle to track its position.

8. Two wheels and a load

When we think of Audi today, we think of luxury—that much has been established here. It’s only rightly so, especially since that’s something that the company has been working towards for many years now. When we think of Audi, we think of sleek luxury sedans that signify nothing but pure elegance on the road. However, in 1949, Audi actually came out with a motorcycle and a van. It’s not completely uncharacteristic for the company back then because it wasn’t necessarily marketing itself as a luxury automobile manufacturer then. It actually made sense for them to expand their line to appeal to those who trudge along on two wheels and those who need a lot of space when traveling such as families. It never took off, however, and we can’t say we miss much from that time either.

9. History of speed

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There’s always been a rivalry that exists between Mercedes and Audi, and this rivalry goes back decades to the time before WWII. Back then, the competition pointed to speed, as both companies tried to outrun each other on the road and on the track whenever they could get the chance. Remember that this happened back in 1938 when the technology around today was still nonexistent. One Auto Union, the Type C, went up to speeds of 268.4 mph. That was highly impressive according to the standards of that day, but on that actual day of testing, Mercedes actually won the title for the fastest car, when it beat the Type C’s number by just 4/10 of a mile per hour.

10. Only the Best, Most Experienced Factory Employees Get to Build R8s

It’s not easy to build an R8, as it takes about 5,000 different components and 70 hours to complete one! As a result, the factory rolls out only 20 (or less) R8s on an average workday. That’s why Audi only selects the best and most experienced factory employees for the job. Usually, most of these employees have been with Audi for many years.

Additionally, Audi’s high-performance cars are known for winning the Le Mans championship 13 times. They deliberately wanted to prove their diesel-engine prowess by winning Le Mans with a turbocharged V10 R10 TDI. After that, Audi took one step ahead and won the 2012 Le Mans with an R18 e-Tron Quattro.

11. Audi is the master of Le Mans and won 24-hours with both Diesel and Hybrid powered cars

Audi is the master of Le Mans and has won the championship an incredible 13 times. Audi was so strong in this form of racing that hardly any other manufacturer could challenge the supremacy of the German manufacturer, thanks to the gasoline R8 racer. As if it was not enough, Audi decided to prove their diesel prowess by winning the 2006 Le Mans in a turbocharged V10 R10 TDI. And then Audi went one step ahead to win the Le Mans 2012 in an R18 e-tron Quattro. Insane!

12. Audi is planning to send a Quattro powered Lunar Rover on Moon

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Google is conducting a competition called Lunar XPRIZE with a prize money of $30 million. The competition invites scientists to build a Lunar Rover that can run on the surface of the moon for 500 meters and broadcast high-definition live feed from its surface. Audi has partnered with a team of scientists in Germany to build a Lunar Rover powered by Quattro and named it the 'Audi Lunar Quattro'. We hope Audi wins the competition!

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