Audi AG
Traded as FWBNSU
Industry Automotive
Predecessor Auto Union GmbH
NSU Motorenwerke AG
Founded Historic
Zwickau, Germany
(25 April 1910; 108 years ago)
Neckarsulm, Germany
(1 January 1969; 49 years ago)
Founder August Horch
Headquarters IngolstadtGermany
Number of locations
11 production facilities in 9 countries
Area served
Key people
  • Abraham Schot, Chairman of the Board of Management
  • Marc Lichte, Head of Design
  • Ulrich Hackenberg, Head of Technical Development
Products Luxury vehicles
Production output
Increase 2,024,881 units
Revenue Increase €58.42 billion (2015)
Increase €4.836 billion (2015)
Increase €4.297 billion (2015)
Total assets Increase €16.832 billion (2009)
Total equity Increase €3.451 billion (2009)
Owner Volkswagen Group (99.55%)
Number of employees
84,435 (2015)
Footnotes / references
Audi History: Chronicle, 2011 Annual Financial Report

Audi AG (Ger­man: [ˈʔaʊ̯diː ʔaːˈgeː] (About this soundlis­ten)) is a Ger­man au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­turer that de­signs, en­gi­neers, pro­duces, mar­kets and dis­trib­utes lux­ury ve­hi­cles. Audi is a mem­ber of the Volk­swa­gen Group and has its roots at In­gol­stadtBavaria, Ger­many. Audi-branded ve­hi­cles are pro­duced in nine pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties world­wide.

The ori­gins of the com­pany are com­plex, going back to the early 20th cen­tury and the ini­tial en­ter­prises (Horch and the Au­di­w­erke) founded by en­gi­neer Au­gust Horch; and two other man­u­fac­tur­ers (DKW and Wan­derer), lead­ing to the foun­da­tion of Auto Union in 1932. The mod­ern era of Audi es­sen­tially began in the 1960s when Auto Union was ac­quired by Volk­swa­gen from Daim­ler-Benz. After re­launch­ing the Audi brand with the 1965 in­tro­duc­tion of the Audi F103 se­ries, Volk­swa­gen merged Auto Union with NSU Mo­toren­werke in 1969, thus cre­at­ing the pre­sent day form of the com­pany.

The com­pany name is based on the Latin trans­la­tion of the sur­name of the founder, Au­gust Horch. “Horch”, mean­ing “lis­ten” in Ger­man, be­comes “audi” in Latin. The four rings of the Audi logo each rep­re­sent one of four car com­pa­nies that banded to­gether to cre­ate Audi’s pre­de­ces­sor com­pany, Auto Union. Audi’s slo­gan is Vor­sprung durch Technik, mean­ing “Being Ahead through Tech­nol­ogy”. How­ever, Audi USA had used the slo­gan “Truth in En­gi­neer­ing” from 2007 to 2016, and have not used the slo­gan since 2016. Audi, along with BMW and Mer­cedes-Benz, is among the best-sell­ing lux­ury au­to­mo­bile brands in the world.


Birth of the company and its name

Au­to­mo­bile com­pany Wan­derer was orig­i­nally es­tab­lished in 1885, later be­com­ing a branch of Audi AG. An­other com­pany, NSU, which also later merged into Audi, was founded dur­ing this time, and later sup­plied the chas­sis for Got­tlieb Daim­ler‘s four-wheeler.

On 14 No­vem­ber 1899, Au­gust Horch (1868–1951) es­tab­lished the com­pany A. Horch & Cie. in the Ehren­feld dis­trict of Cologne. In 1902, he moved with his com­pany to Re­ichen­bach im Vogt­land. On 10 May 1904, he founded the Au­gust Horch & Cie. Mo­tor­wa­gen­werke AG, a joint-stock com­pany in Zwickau (State of Sax­ony).

After trou­bles with Horch chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Au­gust Horch left Mo­tor­wa­gen­werke and founded in Zwickau on 16 July 1909, his sec­ond com­pany, the Au­gust Horch Au­to­mo­bil­w­erke GmbH. His for­mer part­ners sued him for trade­mark in­fringe­ment. The Ger­man Re­ichs­gericht(Supreme Court) in Leipzig, even­tu­ally de­ter­mined that the Horch brand be­longed to his for­mer company.

Since Au­gust Horch was pro­hib­ited from using “Horch” as a trade name in his new car busi­ness, he called a meet­ing with close busi­ness friends, Paul and Franz Fikentscher from Zwickau. At the apart­ment of Franz Fikentscher, they dis­cussed how to come up with a new name for the com­pany. Dur­ing this meet­ing, Franz’s son was qui­etly study­ing Latin in a cor­ner of the room. Sev­eral times he looked like he was on the verge of say­ing some­thing but would just swal­low his words and con­tinue work­ing, until he fi­nally blurted out, “Fa­ther – au­diatur et al­tera pars… wouldn’t it be a good idea to call it audi in­stead of horch?” “Horch!” in Ger­man means “Hark!” or “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. On 25 April 1910 the Audi Au­to­mo­bil­w­erke GmbH Zwickau (from 1915 on Au­di­w­erke AG Zwickau) was en­tered in the com­pany’s reg­is­ter of Zwickau reg­is­tra­tion court.

The first Audi au­to­mo­bile, the Audi Type A 10/22 hp (16 kW) Sport-Phaeton, was pro­duced in the same year, fol­lowed by the suc­ces­sor Type B 10/28PS in the same year.

Audi started with a 2,612 cc in­line-four en­gine model Type A, fol­lowed by a 3,564 cc model, as well as 4,680 cc and 5,720 cc mod­els. These cars were suc­cess­ful even in sport­ing events. The first six-cylin­der model Type M, 4,655 cc ap­peared in 1924.

Au­gust Horch left the Au­di­w­erke in 1920 for a high po­si­tion at the min­istry of trans­port, but he was still in­volved with Audi as a mem­ber of the board of trustees. In Sep­tem­ber 1921, Audi be­came the first Ger­man car man­u­fac­turer to pre­sent a pro­duc­tion car, the Audi Type K, with left-handed drive. Left-hand drive spread and es­tab­lished dom­i­nance dur­ing the 1920s be­cause it pro­vided a bet­ter view of on­com­ing traf­fic, mak­ing over­tak­ing safer.

The merger of the four companies under the logo of four rings

In Au­gust 1928, Jørgen Ras­mussen, the owner of Dampf-Kraft-Wa­gen (DKW), ac­quired the ma­jor­ity of shares in Au­di­w­erke AG. In the same year, Ras­mussen bought the re­mains of the U.S. au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­turer Rick­en­backer, in­clud­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ing equip­ment for eight-cylin­der en­gines. These en­gines were used in Audi Zwickau and Audi Dresden mod­els that were launched in 1929. At the same time, six-cylin­der and four-cylin­der (the ”four” with a Peu­geot en­gine) mod­els were man­u­fac­tured. Audi cars of that era were lux­u­ri­ous cars equipped with spe­cial body­work.

In 1932, Audi merged with Horch, DKW, and Wan­derer, to form Auto Union AG, Chem­nitz. It was dur­ing this pe­riod that the com­pany of­fered the Audi Front that be­came the first Eu­ro­pean car to com­bine a six-cylin­der en­gine with front-wheel drive. It used a pow­er­train shared with the Wan­derer, but turned 180-de­grees, so that the drive shaft faced the front.

Be­fore World War II, Auto Union used the four in­ter­linked rings that make up the Audi badge today, rep­re­sent­ing these four brands. How­ever, this badge was used only on Auto Union rac­ing cars in that pe­riod while the mem­ber com­pa­nies used their own names and em­blems. The tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment be­came more and more con­cen­trated and some Audi mod­els were pro­pelled by Horch or Wan­derer built en­gines.

Re­flect­ing the eco­nomic pres­sures of the time, Auto Union con­cen­trated in­creas­ingly on smaller cars through the 1930s, so that by 1938 the com­pany’s DKW brand ac­counted for 17.9% of the Ger­man car mar­ket, while Audi held only 0.1%. After the final few Audis were de­liv­ered in 1939 the “Audi” name dis­ap­peared com­pletely from the new car mar­ket for more than two decades.

Post-World War II

Like most Ger­man man­u­fac­tur­ing, at the onset of World War II the Auto Union plants were re­tooled for mil­i­tary pro­duc­tion, and were a tar­get for al­lied bomb­ing dur­ing the war which left them dam­aged.

Over­run by the So­viet Army in 1945, on the or­ders of the So­viet Union mil­i­tary ad­min­is­tra­tion the fac­to­ries were dis­man­tled as part of war repa­ra­tions. Fol­low­ing this, the com­pany’s en­tire as­sets were ex­pro­pri­ated with­out compensation. On 17 Au­gust 1948, Auto Union AG of Chem­nitz was deleted from the com­mer­cial register. These ac­tions had the ef­fect of liq­ui­dat­ing Ger­many’s Auto Union AG. The re­mains of the Audi plant of Zwickau be­came the VEB (for “Peo­ple Owned En­ter­prise”) Au­to­mo­bil­w­erk Zwickau or AWZ (in Eng­lish: Au­to­mo­bile Works Zwickau).

With no prospect of con­tin­u­ing pro­duc­tion in So­viet-con­trolled East Ger­many, Auto Union ex­ec­u­tives began the process of re­lo­cat­ing what was left of the com­pany to West Ger­many. A site was cho­sen in In­gol­stadtBavaria, to start a spare parts op­er­a­tion in late 1945, which would even­tu­ally serve as the head­quar­ters of the re­formed Auto Union in 1949.

The for­mer Audi fac­tory in Zwickau restarted as­sem­bly of the pre-war-mod­els in 1949. These DKW mod­els were re­named to IFA F8 and IFA F9 and were sim­i­lar to the West Ger­man ver­sions. West and East Ger­man mod­els were equipped with the tra­di­tional and renowned DKW two-stroke en­gines. The Zwickau plant man­u­fac­tured the in­fa­mous Tra­bant until 1991, when it came under Volk­swa­gen con­trol—ef­fec­tively bring­ing it under the same um­brella as Audi since 1945.

New Auto Union unit

A new West Ger­man head­quar­tered Auto Union was launched in In­gol­stadt with loans from the Bavar­ian state gov­ern­ment and Mar­shall Plan aid. The re­formed com­pany was launched 3 Sep­tem­ber 1949 and con­tin­ued DKW’s tra­di­tion of pro­duc­ing front-wheel drive ve­hi­cles with two-stroke engines. This in­cluded pro­duc­tion of a small but sturdy 125 cc mo­tor­cy­cle and a DKW de­liv­ery van, the DKW F89 Lat In­gol­stadt. The In­gol­stadt site was large, con­sist­ing of an ex­ten­sive com­plex of for­merly mil­i­tary build­ings which was suit­able for ad­min­is­tra­tion as well as ve­hi­cle ware­hous­ing and dis­tri­b­u­tion, but at this stage there was at In­gol­stadt no ded­i­cated plant suit­able for mass pro­duc­tion of au­to­mo­biles: for man­u­fac­tur­ing the com­pany’s first post-war mass-mar­ket pas­sen­ger car plant ca­pac­ity in Düssel­dorf was rented from Rhein­metall-Bor­sig. It was only ten years later, after the com­pany had at­tracted an in­vestor, when funds be­came avail­able for con­struc­tion of major car plant at the In­gol­stadt head of­fice site.

In 1958, in re­sponse to pres­sure from Friedrich Flick, then the com­pany’s largest sin­gle shareholder, Daim­ler-Benz took an 87% hold­ing in the Auto Union com­pany, and this was in­creased to a 100% hold­ing in 1959. How­ever, small two-stroke cars were not the focus of Daim­ler-Benz’s in­ter­ests, and while the early 1960s saw major in­vest­ment in new Mer­cedes mod­els and in a state of the art fac­tory for Auto Union’s, the com­pany’s aging model range at this time did not ben­e­fit from the eco­nomic boom of the early 1960s to the same ex­tent as com­peti­tor man­u­fac­tur­ers such as Volk­swa­gen and Opel. The de­ci­sion to dis­pose of the Auto Union busi­ness was based on its lack of profitability. Iron­i­cally, by the time they sold the busi­ness, it also in­cluded a large new fac­tory and near pro­duc­tion-ready mod­ern four-stroke en­gine, which would en­able the Auto Union busi­ness, under a new owner, to em­bark on a pe­riod of prof­itable growth, now pro­duc­ing not Auto Unions or DKWs, but using the “Audi” name, res­ur­rected in 1965 after a 25-year gap.

In 1964, Volk­swa­gen ac­quired a 50% hold­ing in the busi­ness, which in­cluded the new fac­tory in In­gol­stadt, the DKW and Audi brands along with the rights to the new en­gine de­sign which had been funded by Daim­ler-Benz, who in re­turn re­tained the dor­mant Horch trade­mark and the Düssel­dorf fac­tory which be­came a Mer­cedes-Benz van as­sem­bly plant. Eigh­teen months later, Volk­swa­gen bought com­plete con­trol of In­gol­stadt, and by 1966 were using the spare ca­pac­ity of the In­gol­stadt plant to as­sem­ble an ad­di­tional 60,000 Volk­swa­gen Bee­tles per year. Two-stroke en­gines be­came less pop­u­lar dur­ing the 1960s as cus­tomers were more at­tracted to the smoother four-stroke en­gines. In Sep­tem­ber 1965, the DKW F102 was fit­ted with a four-stroke en­gine and a facelift for the car’s front and rear. Volk­swa­gen dumped the DKW brand be­cause of its as­so­ci­a­tions with two-stroke tech­nol­ogy, and hav­ing clas­si­fied the model in­ter­nally as the F103, sold it sim­ply as the “Audi”. Later de­vel­op­ments of the model were named after their horse­power rat­ings and sold as the Audi 60, 75, 80, and Super 90, sell­ing until 1972. Ini­tially, Volk­swa­gen was hos­tile to the idea of Auto Union as a stand­alone en­tity pro­duc­ing its own mod­els hav­ing ac­quired the com­pany merely to boost its own pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity through the In­gol­stadt as­sem­bly plant – to the point where Volk­swa­gen ex­ec­u­tives or­dered that the Auto Union name and flags bear­ing the four rings were re­moved from the fac­tory build­ings. Then VW chief Heinz Nord­hoff ex­plic­itly for­bade Auto Union from any fur­ther prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. Fear­ing that the Volk­swa­gen had no long term am­bi­tion for the Audi brand, Auto Union en­gi­neers under the lead­er­ship of Lud­wig Kraus de­vel­oped the first Audi 100 in se­cret, with­out Nord­hoff’s knowl­edge. When pre­sented with a fin­ished pro­to­type, Nord­hoff was so im­pressed he au­tho­rised the car for pro­duc­tion, which when launched in 1968, went on to be a huge suc­cess. With this, the res­ur­rec­tion of the Audi brand was now com­plete, this being fol­lowed by the first gen­er­a­tion Audi 80 in 1972, which would in turn pro­vide a tem­plate for VW’s new front-wheel-drive wa­ter-cooled range which de­buted from the mid-1970s on­ward.

In 1969, Auto Union merged with NSU, based in Neckar­sulm, near Stuttgart. In the 1950s, NSU had been the world’s largest man­u­fac­turer of mo­tor­cy­cles, but had moved on to pro­duce small cars like the NSU Prinz, the TT and TTS ver­sions of which are still pop­u­lar as vin­tage race cars. NSU then fo­cused on new ro­tary en­gines based on the ideas of Felix Wankel. In 1967, the new NSU Ro 80 was a car well ahead of its time in tech­ni­cal de­tails such as aero­dy­nam­ics, light weight, and safety. How­ever, teething prob­lems with the ro­tary en­gines put an end to the in­de­pen­dence of NSU. The Neckar­sulm plant is now used to pro­duce the larger Audi mod­els A6 and A8. The Neckar­sulm fac­tory is also home of the “quat­tro GmbH” (from No­vem­ber 2016 “Audi Sport GmbH“), a sub­sidiary re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion of Audi high-per­for­mance mod­els: the R8 and the “RS” model range.

Modern era

The new merged com­pany was in­cor­po­rated on 1 Jan­u­ary 1969 and was known as Audi NSU Auto Union AG, with its head­quar­ters at NSU’s Neckar­sulm plant, and saw the emer­gence of Audi as a sep­a­rate brand for the first time since the pre-war era. Volk­swa­gen in­tro­duced the Audi brand to the United States for the 1970 model year. That same year, the mid-sized car that NSU had been work­ing on, the K70, orig­i­nally in­tended to slot be­tween the rear-en­gined Prinz mod­els and the fu­tur­is­tic NSU Ro 80, was in­stead launched as a Volk­swa­gen.

After the launch of the Audi 100 of 1968, the Audi 80/Fox (which formed the basis for the 1973 Volk­swa­gen Pas­sat) fol­lowed in 1972 and the Audi 50 (later re­badged as the Volk­swa­gen Polo) in 1974. The Audi 50 was a sem­i­nal de­sign be­cause it was the first in­car­na­tion of the Golf/Polo con­cept, one that led to a hugely suc­cess­ful world car. Ul­ti­mately, the Audi 80 and 100 (prog­en­i­tors of the A4 and A6, re­spec­tively) be­came the com­pany’s biggest sell­ers, whilst lit­tle in­vest­ment was made in the fad­ing NSU range; the Prinz mod­els were dropped in 1973 whilst the fa­tally flawed NSU Ro80 went out of pro­duc­tion in 1977, spelling the ef­fec­tive end of the NSU brand. Pro­duc­tion of the Audi 100 had been steadily moved from In­gol­stadt to Neckar­sulm as the 1970s had pro­gressed, any by the ap­pear­ance of the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion C2 ver­sion in 1976, all pro­duc­tion was now at the for­mer NSU plant. Neckar­sulm from that point on­ward would pro­duce Audi’s higher end mod­els.

The Audi image at this time was a con­ser­v­a­tive one, and so, a pro­posal from chas­sis en­gi­neer Jörg Bensinger was ac­cepted to de­velop the four-wheel drive tech­nol­ogy in Volk­swa­gen‘s Iltis mil­i­tary ve­hi­cle for an Audi per­for­mance car and rally rac­ing car. The per­for­mance car, in­tro­duced in 1980, was named the “Audi Quat­tro“, a tur­bocharged coupé which was also the first Ger­man large-scale pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cle to fea­ture per­ma­nent all-wheel drive through a cen­tre dif­fer­en­tial. Com­monly re­ferred to as the “Ur-Quat­tro” (the “Ur-” pre­fix is a Ger­man aug­men­ta­tive used, in this case, to mean “orig­i­nal” and is also ap­plied to the first gen­er­a­tion of Audi’s S4 and S6 Sport Sa­loons, as in “UrS4” and “UrS6”), few of these ve­hi­cles were pro­duced (all hand-built by a sin­gle team), but the model was a great suc­cess in ral­ly­ing. Promi­nent wins proved the vi­a­bil­ity of all-wheel drive race­cars, and the Audi name be­came as­so­ci­ated with ad­vances in au­to­mo­tive tech­nol­ogy.

In 1985, with the Auto Union and NSU brands ef­fec­tively dead, the com­pany’s of­fi­cial name was now short­ened to sim­ply Audi AG. At the same time the com­pany’s head­quar­ters moved back to In­gol­stadt and two new wholly owned sub­sidiaries; Auto Union GmbH and NSU GmbH, were formed to own and man­age the his­tor­i­cal trade­marks and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty of the orig­i­nal con­stituent com­pa­nies (the ex­cep­tion being Horch, which had been re­tained by Daim­ler-Benz after the VW takeover), and to op­er­ate Audi’s her­itage op­er­a­tions.

In 1986, as the Pas­sat-based Audi 80 was be­gin­ning to de­velop a kind of “grand­fa­ther’s car” image, the type 89 was in­tro­duced. This com­pletely new de­vel­op­ment sold ex­tremely well. How­ever, its mod­ern and dy­namic ex­te­rior be­lied the low per­for­mance of its base en­gine, and its base pack­age was quite spar­tan (even the pas­sen­ger-side mir­ror was an op­tion.) In 1987, Audi put for­ward a new and very el­e­gant Audi 90, which had a much su­pe­rior set of stan­dard fea­tures. In the early 1990s, sales began to slump for the Audi 80 se­ries, and some basic con­struc­tion prob­lems started to sur­face.

In the early part of the 21st cen­tury, Audi set forth on a Ger­man race­track to claim and main­tain sev­eral world records, such as top speed en­durance. This ef­fort was in-line with the com­pany’s her­itage from the 1930s rac­ing era Sil­ver Ar­rows.

Through the early 1990s, Audi began to shift its tar­get mar­ket up­scale to com­pete against Ger­man au­tomak­ers Mer­cedes-Benz and BMW. This began with the re­lease of the Audi V8 in 1990. It was es­sen­tially a new en­gine fit­ted to the Audi 100/200, but with no­tice­able body­work dif­fer­ences. Most ob­vi­ous was the new grille that was now in­cor­po­rated in the bon­net.

By 1991, Audi had the four-cylin­der Audi 80, the 5-cylin­der Audi 90 and Audi 100, the tur­bocharged Audi 200 and the Audi V8. There was also a coupe ver­sion of the 80/90 with both 4- and 5-cylin­der en­gines.

Al­though the five-cylin­der en­gine was a suc­cess­ful and ro­bust pow­er­plant, it was still a lit­tle too dif­fer­ent for the tar­get mar­ket. With the in­tro­duc­tion of an all-new Audi 100 in 1992, Audi in­tro­duced a 2.8L V6 en­gine. This en­gine was also fit­ted to a face-lifted Audi 80 (all 80 and 90 mod­els were now badged 80 ex­cept for the USA), giv­ing this model a choice of four-, five-, and six-cylin­der en­gines, in Sa­loonCoupé and Cabri­o­let body styles.

The five-cylin­der was soon dropped as a major en­gine choice; how­ever, a tur­bocharged 230 hp (170 kW) ver­sion re­mained. The en­gine, ini­tially fit­ted to the 200 quat­tro 20V of 1991, was a de­riv­a­tive of the en­gine fit­ted to the Sport Quat­tro. It was fit­ted to the Audi Coupé, and named the S2 and also to the Audi 100 body, and named the S4. These two mod­els were the be­gin­ning of the mass-pro­duced S se­riesof per­for­mance cars.

Audi 5000 unintended acceleration allegations

Sales in the United States fell after a se­ries of re­calls from 1982 to 1987 of Audi 5000 mod­els as­so­ci­ated with re­ported in­ci­dents of sud­den un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tion linked to six deaths and 700 accidents. At the time, NHTSA was in­ves­ti­gat­ing 50 car mod­els from 20 man­u­fac­tur­ers for sud­den surges of power.

60 Min­utes re­port aired 23 No­vem­ber 1986, fea­tur­ing in­ter­views with six peo­ple who had sued Audi after re­port­ing un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tion, show­ing an Audi 5000 os­ten­si­bly suf­fer­ing a prob­lem when the brake pedal was pushed. Sub­se­quent in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed that 60 Minutes had en­gi­neered the fail­ure – fit­ting a can­is­ter of com­pressed air on the pas­sen­ger-side floor, linked via a hose to a hole drilled into the transmission.

1982-91 Audi 100
Audi 100 C3, sold as the Audi 5000 in the U.S.

Audi con­tended, prior to find­ings by out­side investigators, that the prob­lems were caused by dri­ver error, specif­i­cally pedal misapplication. Sub­se­quently, the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NHTSA) con­cluded that the ma­jor­ity of un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tion cases, in­clud­ing all the ones that prompted the 60 Minutes re­port, were caused by dri­ver error such as con­fu­sion of pedals. CBS did not ac­knowl­edge the test re­sults of in­volved gov­ern­ment agen­cies, but did ac­knowl­edge the sim­i­lar re­sults of an­other study.

In a re­view study pub­lished in 2012, NHTSA sum­ma­rized its past find­ings about the Audi un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tion prob­lems: “Once an un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tion had begun, in the Audi 5000, due to a fail­ure in the idle-sta­bi­lizer sys­tem (pro­duc­ing an ini­tial ac­cel­er­a­tion of 0.3g), pedal mis­ap­pli­ca­tion re­sult­ing from panic, con­fu­sion, or un­fa­mil­iar­ity with the Audi 5000 con­tributed to the sever­ity of the incident.”

This sum­mary is con­sis­tent with the con­clu­sions of NHTSA’s most tech­ni­cal analy­sis at the time: “Audi idle-sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tems were prone to de­fects which re­sulted in ex­ces­sive idle speeds and brief unan­tic­i­pated ac­cel­er­a­tions of up to 0.3g [which is sim­i­lar in mag­ni­tude to an emer­gency stop in a sub­way car]. These ac­cel­er­a­tions could not be the sole cause of [(long-du­ra­tion) sud­den ac­cel­er­a­tion in­ci­dents (SAI)], but might have trig­gered some SAIs by star­tling the driver. The de­fec­tive idle-sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem per­formed a type of elec­tronic throt­tle con­trol. Sig­nif­i­cantly: mul­ti­ple “in­ter­mit­tent mal­func­tions of the elec­tronic con­trol unit were ob­served and recorded … and [were also ob­served and] re­ported by Trans­port Canada.”

With a se­ries of re­call cam­paigns, Audi made sev­eral mod­i­fi­ca­tions; the first ad­justed the dis­tance be­tween the brake and ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal on au­to­matic-trans­mis­sion models. Later re­pairs, of 250,000 cars dat­ing back to 1978, added a de­vice re­quir­ing the dri­ver to press the brake pedal be­fore shift­ing out of park. A legacy of the Audi 5000 and other re­ported cases of sud­den un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tion are in­tri­cate gear stick pat­terns and brake in­ter­lock mech­a­nisms to pre­vent in­ad­ver­tent shift­ing into for­ward or re­verse. It is un­clear how the de­fects in the idle-sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem were ad­dressed.

Audi’s U.S. sales, which had reached 74,061 in 1985, dropped to 12,283 in 1991 and re­mained level for three years. – with re­sale val­ues falling dramatically. Audi sub­se­quently of­fered in­creased war­ranty protection and re­named the af­fected mod­els – with the 5000 be­com­ing the 100 and 200 in 1989 – and reached the same sales lev­els again only by model year 2000.

A 2010 Busi­ness­Week ar­ti­cle – out­lin­ing pos­si­ble par­al­lels be­tween Audi’s ex­pe­ri­ence and 2009–2010 Toy­ota ve­hi­cle re­calls – noted a class-ac­tion law­suit filed in 1987 by about 7,500 Audi 5000-model own­ers re­mains un­set­tled and is re­mains con­tested in Chicago‘s Cook Countyafter ap­peals at the Illi­nois state and U.S. fed­eral levels.

Model introductions

In the mid-to-late 1990s, Audi in­tro­duced new tech­nolo­gies in­clud­ing the use of alu­minum con­struc­tion. Pro­duced from 1999 to 2005, the Audi A2 was a fu­tur­is­tic super mini, born from the Al2 con­cept, with many fea­tures that helped re­gain con­sumer con­fi­dence, like the alu­minium space frame, which was a first in pro­duc­tion car de­sign. In the A2 Audi fur­ther ex­panded their TDI tech­nol­ogy through the use of fru­gal three-cylin­der en­gines. The A2 was ex­tremely aero­dy­namic and was de­signed around a wind tun­nel. The Audi A2 was crit­i­cised for its high price and was never re­ally a sales suc­cess but it planted Audi as a cut­ting-edge man­u­fac­turer. The model, a Mer­cedes-Benz A-Class com­peti­tor, sold rel­a­tively well in Eu­rope. How­ever, the A2 was dis­con­tin­ued in 2005 and Audi de­cided not to de­velop an im­me­di­ate re­place­ment.

The next major model change came in 1995 when the Audi A4 re­placed the Audi 80. The new nomen­cla­ture scheme was ap­plied to the Audi 100 to be­come the Audi A6 (with a minor facelift). This also meant the S4 be­came the S6 and a new S4 was in­tro­duced in the A4 body. The S2 was dis­con­tin­ued. The Audi Cabri­o­let con­tin­ued on (based on the Audi 80 plat­form) until 1999, gain­ing the en­gine up­grades along the way. A new A3 hatch­back model (shar­ing the Volk­swa­gen Golf Mk4‘s plat­form) was in­tro­duced to the range in 1996, and the rad­i­cal Audi TT coupé and road­ster were de­buted in 1998 based on the same un­der­pin­nings.

The en­gines avail­able through­out the range were now a 1.4 L, 1.6 L and 1.8 L four-cylin­der, 1.8 L four-cylin­der turbo, 2.6 L and 2.8 L V6, 2.2 L turbo-charged five-cylin­der and the 4.2 L V8 en­gine. The V6s were re­placed by new 2.4 L and 2.8 L 30V V6s in 1998, with marked im­prove­ment in power, torque and smooth­ness. Fur­ther en­gines were added along the way, in­clud­ing a 3.7 L V8 and 6.0 L W12 en­gine for the A8.

Audi AG today

Audi’s sales grew strongly in the 2000s, with de­liv­er­ies to cus­tomers in­creas­ing from 653,000 in 2000 to 1,003,000 in 2008. The largest sales in­creases came from East­ern Eu­rope (+19.3%), Africa (+17.2%) and the Mid­dle East (+58.5%). China in par­tic­u­lar has be­come a key mar­ket, rep­re­sent­ing 108,000 out of 705,000 cars de­liv­ered in the first three quar­ters of 2009. One fac­tor for its pop­u­lar­ity in China is that Audis have be­come the car of choice for pur­chase by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment for of­fi­cials, and pur­chases by the gov­ern­ment are re­spon­si­ble for 20% of its sales in China. As of late 2009, Audi’s op­er­at­ing profit of €1.17-bil­lion ($1.85-bil­lion) made it the biggest con­trib­u­tor to par­ent Volk­swa­gen Group’s nine-month op­er­at­ing profit of €1.5-bil­lion, while the other mar­ques in Group such as Bent­ley and SEAT had suf­fered con­sid­er­able losses. May 2011 saw record sales for Audi of Amer­ica with the new Audi A7 and Audi A3 TDI Clean Diesel. In May 2012, Audi re­ported a 10% in­crease in its sales—from 408 units to 480 in the last year alone.

Audi man­u­fac­tures ve­hi­cles in seven plants around the world, some of which are shared with other VW Group marques al­though many sub-as­sem­blies such as en­gines and trans­mis­sions are man­u­fac­tured within other Volk­swa­gen Group plants.

Audi’s two prin­ci­pal as­sem­bly plants are:

  • Ingolstadt, Opened by Auto Union in 1964, (A3, A4, A5, Q5)
  • Neckarsulm, Acquired from NSU in 1969 (A4, A6, A7, A8, R8 & all RS variants)

Out­side of Ger­many, Audi pro­duces ve­hi­cles at:

In Sep­tem­ber 2012, Audi an­nounced the con­struc­tion of its first North Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Puebla, Mex­ico. This plant is ex­pected to be op­er­a­tive in 2016 and pro­duce the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion Q5.

From 2002 up to 2003, Audi headed the Audi Brand Group, a sub­di­vi­sion of the Volk­swa­gen Group’s Au­to­mo­tive Di­vi­sion con­sist­ing of Audi, Lam­borgh­ini and SEAT, that was fo­cused on sporty val­ues, with the mar­ques’ prod­uct ve­hi­cles and per­for­mance being under the higher re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Audi brand.

On Jan­u­ary 2014, Audi, along with the Wire­less Power Con­sor­tium, op­er­ated a booth which demon­strated a phone com­part­ment using the Qi open in­ter­face stan­dard at the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show (CES). In May, most of the Audi deal­ers in UK falsely claimed that the Audi A7, A8, and R8 were Euro NCAP safety tested, all achiev­ing five out of five stars. In fact none were tested.

In 2015, Audi ad­mit­ted that at least 2.1 mil­lion Audi cars had been in­volved in the Volk­swa­gen emis­sions test­ing scan­dal in which soft­ware in­stalled in the cars ma­nip­u­lated emis­sions data to fool reg­u­la­tors and allow the cars to pol­lute at higher than gov­ern­ment-man­dated lev­els. The A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5 mod­els were im­pli­cated in the scandal. Audi promised to quickly find a tech­ni­cal so­lu­tion and up­grade the cars so they can func­tion within emis­sions regulations. Ul­rich Hack­en­berg, the head of re­search and de­vel­op­ment at Audi, was sus­pended in re­la­tion to the scandal. De­spite wide­spread media cov­er­age about the scan­dal through the month of Sep­tem­ber, Audi re­ported that U.S. sales for the month had in­creased by 16.2%. Audi’s par­ent com­pany Volk­swa­gen an­nounced on 18 June 2018 that Audi chief ex­ec­u­tive Ru­pert Stadler had been arrested.

In No­vem­ber 2015, the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency im­pli­cated the 3-liter diesel en­gine ver­sions of the 2016 Audi A6 Quat­tro, A7 Quat­tro, A8, A8L and the Q5 as fur­ther mod­els that had emis­sions reg­u­la­tion de­feat-de­vice soft­ware installed. Thus, these mod­els emit­ted ni­tro­gen oxide at up to nine times the legal limit when the car de­tected that it was not hooked up to emis­sions test­ing equipment.

In No­vem­ber 2016, Audi ex­pressed an in­ten­tion to es­tab­lish an as­sem­bly fac­tory in Pak­istan, with the com­pany’s local part­ner ac­quir­ing land for a plant in Ko­rangi Creek In­dus­trial Park in Karachi. Ap­proval of the plan would lead to an in­vest­ment of $30 mil­lion in the new plant.


Audi AI

Audi AI is a dri­ver as­sist fea­ture of­fered by Audi. The com­pany’s stated in­tent is to offer fully au­tonomous dri­ving at a fu­ture time, ac­knowl­edg­ing that legal, reg­u­la­tory and tech­ni­cal hur­dles must be over­come to achieve this goal. On June 4, 2017, Audi stated that its new A8 will be fully self-dri­ving for speeds up to 60 km/h using its Audi AI. Con­trary to other cars, the dri­ver will not have to do safety checks such as touch­ing the steer­ing wheel every 15 sec­onds to use this fea­ture. The Audi A8 will there­fore be the first pro­duc­tion car to reach level 3 au­tonomous dri­ving, mean­ing that the dri­ver can safely turn their at­ten­tion away from dri­ving tasks, e.g. the dri­ver can text or watch a movie. Audi will also be the first man­u­fac­turer to use a 3D LIDAR sys­tem in ad­di­tion to cam­eras and ul­tra­sonic sen­sors for their AI.


Audi pro­duces 100% gal­vanised cars to pre­vent cor­ro­sion, and was the first mass-mar­ket ve­hi­cle to do so, fol­low­ing in­tro­duc­tion of the process by Porsche, c. 1975. Along with other pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures, the full-body zinc coat­ing has proved to be very ef­fec­tive in pre­vent­ing rust. The body’s re­sult­ing dura­bil­ity even sur­passed Audi’s own ex­pec­ta­tions, caus­ing the man­u­fac­turer to ex­tend its orig­i­nal 10-year war­ranty against cor­ro­sion per­fo­ra­tion to cur­rently 12 years (ex­cept for alu­minium bod­ies which do not rust).

Space frame

2012 Audi R8 - Alexandre Prevost
The Audi R8 uses Audi Space Frame technology

Audi in­tro­duced a new se­ries of ve­hi­cles in the mid-1990s and con­tin­ues to pur­sue new tech­nol­ogy and high per­for­mance. An all-alu­minium car was brought for­ward by Audi, and in 1994 the Audi A8was launched, which in­tro­duced alu­minium space frame tech­nol­ogy (called Audi Space Frame or ASF) which saves weight and im­proves tor­sion rigid­ity com­pared to a con­ven­tional steel frame. Prior to that ef­fort, Audi used ex­am­ples of the Type 44 chas­sis fab­ri­cated out of alu­minium as test-beds for the tech­nique. The dis­ad­van­tage of the alu­minium frame is that it is very ex­pen­sive to re­pair and re­quires a spe­cial­ized alu­minium bodyshop. The weight re­duc­tion is some­what off­set by the quat­tro four-wheel drive sys­tem which is stan­dard in most mar­kets. Nonethe­less, the A8 is usu­ally the light­est all-wheel drive car in the full-size lux­ury seg­ment, also hav­ing best-in-class fuel economy. The Audi A2Audi TT and Audi R8 also use Audi Space Frame de­signs.



For most of its lineup (ex­clud­ing the A3, A1, and TT mod­els), Audi has not adopted the trans­verse en­gine lay­out which is typ­i­cally found in econ­omy cars (such as Peu­geot and Citroën), since that would limit the type and power of en­gines that can be in­stalled. To be able to mount pow­er­ful en­gines (such as a V8 en­gine in the Audi S4 and Audi RS4, as well as the W12 en­gine in the Audi A8L W12), Audi has usu­ally en­gi­neered its more ex­pen­sive cars with a lon­gi­tu­di­nally front-mounted en­gine, in an “over­hung” po­si­tion, over the front wheels in front of the axle line – this lay­out dates back to the DKW and Auto Union sa­loons from the 1950s. But while this al­lows for the easy adop­tion of all-wheel drive, it goes against the ideal 50:50 weight dis­tri­b­u­tion.

In all its post Volk­swa­gen-era mod­els, Audi has firmly re­fused to adopt the tra­di­tional rear-wheel drive lay­out fa­vored by its two archri­vals Mer­cedes-Benz and BMW, fa­vor­ing ei­ther front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The ma­jor­ity of Audi’s lineup in the United States fea­tures all-wheel drive stan­dard on most of its ex­pen­sive ve­hi­cles (only the en­try-level trims of the A4 and A6 are avail­able with front-wheel drive), in con­trast to Mer­cedes-Benz and BMW whose lineup treats all-wheel drive as an op­tion. BMW did not offer all-wheel drive on its V8-pow­ered cars (as op­posed to crossover SUVs) until the 2010 BMW 7 Se­ries and 2011 BMW 5 Se­ries, while the Audi A8 has had all-wheel drive avail­able/stan­dard since the 1990s. Re­gard­ing high-per­for­mance vari­ants, Audi S and RS mod­els have al­ways had all-wheel drive, un­like their di­rect ri­vals from BMW M and Mer­cedes-AMG whose cars are rear-wheel drive only (al­though their per­for­mance crossover SUVs are all-wheel drive).

Audi has re­cently ap­plied the quat­tro badge to mod­els such as the A3 and TT which do not use the Torsen-based sys­tem as in prior years with a me­chan­i­cal cen­ter dif­fer­en­tial, but with the Haldex Trac­tion elec­tro-me­chan­i­cal clutch AWD sys­tem.


Prior to the in­tro­duc­tion of the Audi 80 and Audi 50 in 1972 and 1974, re­spec­tively, Audi had led the de­vel­op­ment of the EA111 and EA827 in­line-four en­gine fam­i­lies. These new power units un­der­pinned the wa­ter-cooled re­vival of par­ent com­pany Volk­swa­gen (in the Polo, Golf, Pas­sat and Scirocco), whilst the many de­riv­a­tives and de­scen­dants of these two basic en­gine de­signs have ap­peared in every gen­er­a­tion of VW Group ve­hi­cles right up to the pre­sent day.

In the 1980s, Audi, along with Volvo, was the cham­pion of the in­line-five cylin­der, 2.1/2.2 L en­gine as a longer-last­ing al­ter­na­tive to more tra­di­tional six-cylin­der en­gines. This en­gine was used not only in pro­duc­tion cars but also in their race cars. The 2.1 L in­line five-cylin­der en­gine was used as a base for the rally cars in the 1980s, pro­vid­ing well over 400 horse­power (300 kilo­watts) after mod­i­fi­ca­tion. Be­fore 1990, there were en­gines pro­duced with a dis­place­ment be­tween 2.0 L and 2.3 L. This range of en­gine ca­pac­ity al­lowed for both fuel econ­omy and power.

For the ul­tra-lux­ury ver­sion of its Audi A8 full­size lux­ury flag­ship sedan, the Audi A8L W12, Audi uses the Volk­swa­gen Group W12 en­gine in­stead of the con­ven­tional V12 en­gine fa­vored by ri­vals Mer­cedes-Benz and BMW. The W12 en­gine con­fig­u­ra­tion (also known as a “WR12”) is cre­ated by form­ing two imag­i­nary nar­row-an­gle 15° VR6 en­gines at an angle of 72°, and the nar­row angle of each set of cylin­ders al­lows just two over­head camshafts to drive each pair of banks, so just four are needed in total. The ad­van­tage of the W12 en­gine is its com­pact pack­ag­ing, al­low­ing Audi to build a 12-cylin­der sedan with all-wheel drive, whereas a con­ven­tional V12 en­gine could have only a rear-wheel drive con­fig­u­ra­tion as it would have no space in the en­gine bay for a dif­fer­en­tial and other com­po­nents re­quired to power the front wheels. In fact, the 6.0 L W12 in the Audi A8L W12 is smaller in over­all di­men­sions than the 4.2 L V8 that pow­ers the Audi A8 4.2 variants. The 2011 Audi A8 de­buted a re­vised 6.3-litre ver­sion of the W12 (WR12) en­gine with 500 PS (370 kW; 490 hp).

Fuel Stratified Injection

New mod­els of the A3, A4, A6 and A8 have been in­tro­duced, with the age­ing 1.8-litre en­gine now hav­ing been re­placed by new Fuel Strat­i­fied In­jec­tion (FSI) en­gines. Nearly every pe­tro­leum burn­ing model in the range now in­cor­po­rates this fuel-sav­ing tech­nol­ogy.

2007 Audi R8 Engine
2007 V8 FSI engine

Direct-Shift Gearbox

In 2003 Volk­swa­gen in­tro­duced the Di­rect-Shift Gear­box (DSG), a type of dual clutch trans­mis­sion. It is an au­to­mated semi-au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, dri­vable like a con­ven­tional au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Based on the gear­box found in the Group B S1, the sys­tem in­cludes dual elec­tro­hy­drauli­cally con­trolled clutches in­stead of a torque con­verter. This is im­ple­mented in some VW GolfsAudi A3Audi A4 and TT mod­els where DSG is called S-tronic.

LED daytime running lights

Be­gin­ning in 2005, Audi has im­ple­mented white LED tech­nol­ogy as day­time run­ning lights (DRL) in their prod­ucts. The dis­tinc­tive shape of the DRLs has be­come a trade­mark of sorts. LEDs were first in­tro­duced on the Audi A8 W12, the world’s first pro­duc­tion car to have LED DRLs, and have since spread through­out the en­tire model range. The LEDs are pre­sent on some Audi bill­boards.

Since 2010, Audi has also of­fered the LED tech­nol­ogy in low- and high-beam head­lights.

LED Daytime Running Lights
The DRL (LED Daytime Running Lights) in an Audi A4 B8

Multi Media Interface

2014 Audi TT virtual cockpit
Multi Media Interface-Menu on Audi virtual cockpit, 1984 Audi TT Mk3

Audi cars

2012 Audi A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI Ambition

2012 Audi A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI Ambition – A1 – Supermini –

3-door Hatchback – 5-door Hatchback – Sportback (5-door Hatchback)

2017 Audi A3 SportBack 2.0 TFSI S-line

2017 Audi A3 SportBack 2.0 TFSI S-line – A3 – Small Family car

3-door Hatchback – Saloon (Sedan) – Sportback (5-door Hatchback) – Cabriolet

2017 Audi A4 (8W) S-Line quattro sedan

2017 Audi A4 (8W) S-Line quattro sedan – A4 – Compact
Executive Car – 
Saloon (Sedan) – Avant (Estate/Wagon) – Allroad (Crossover

2016 Audi A5 II coupé

2016 Audi A5 II coupé – A5 – Compact
Executive Car – 
Coupé – Sportback (5-door Hatchback) – Cabriolet (Convertible)

2017 Audi A6 2.0

2017 Audi A6 2.0 – A6 – Executive Car – Saloon (Sedan) – Avant (Estate/Wagon) – Allroad (Crossover Estate/Wagon)

2018 Audi A7 55 TFSI Quattro

2018 Audi A7 55 TFSI Quattro – A7 – Executive Car – Sportback (5-door Hatchback)

2017 Audi A8L 55 TFSI Quattro D5

2017 Audi A8L 55 TFSI Quattro D5 – A8 – Full-size
Luxury Car – 
Saloon (Sedan)

Audi coupés and SUVs

2015 Audi TT (20444900760)

2015 Audi TT (20444900760) – TT – Compact Sports Car – Coupé – Roadster (Convertible)

2015 Audi A8V10plus

2015 Audi R8 V10 Plus – R8 – Sports Car – Coupé – Spyder (Convertible)

2017 Audi Q2 Sport TDi 1.6

2017 Audi Q2 Sport TDi 1.6 – Q2 – Subcompact Crossover SUV – SUV

2016 Audi Q3 quattro Sport (Facelift)

2016 Audi Q3 quattro Sport (Facelift) – Q3 – Compact Crossover SUV – SUV

2016 Audi Q5 2.0 T quattro

2016 Audi Q5 2.0 T quattro – Q5 – Compact Crossover SUV – SUV

2016 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI quattro S-line (II)

2016 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI quattro S-line (II) – Q7 – Full-size Crossover SUV – SUV

2018 Audi Q8

2018 Audi Q8 – Q8 – Full-size Crossover SUV – SUV

Audi S and RS models

S (Sport) models

2018 Audi S1 Competition Quattro 2.0

2018 Audi S1 Competition Quattro 2.0 – S1 – Supermini – 3-door Hatchback – Sportback (5-door Hatchback)

2017 Audi S3 (26176952539)

2017 Audi S3 (26176952539) – S3 – Small Family Car – 3-door Hatchback – Sportback (5-door Hatchback)

2015 Audi S4 IAA 2015

2015 Audi S4 IAA 2015 – S4 – Compact Executive Car – Saloon (Sedan) – Avant(Estate/Wagon)

2018 Audi S5 TFSi Quattro Automatic 3.0

2018 Audi S5 TFSi Quattro Automatic 3.0 – S5 – Compact Executive Car – Coupé – Cabriolet (Convertible) – Sportback (5-door Hatchback

2015 Audi S6

2015 Audi S6 – S6 – Executive Car – Saloon (Sedan) – Avant (Estate/Wagon)

2015 Audi S7 Sportback C7 facelift 03

2015 Audi S7 Sportback C7 facelift 03 – S7 – Executive Car – Sportback (5-door Hatchback)

2015 Audi S8 plus

2015 Audi S8 plus – S8 – Full-size Luxury Car – Saloon (Sedan)

2015 Audi TTS (8S)

2015 Audi TTS (8S) – TTS – Compact Sports Car – Coupé – Roadster (Convertible)

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0

2018 Audi SQ5 3.0 – SQ5 – Mid-size SUV – Crossover

2017 Audi SQ7

2017 Audi SQ7 – SQ7 – Full-size SUV – Crossover

RS (RennSport/Racing Sport) models

2018 Audi TT RS Coupe

2018 Audi TT RS Coupe – TT RS – Compact Sports Car – Coupé – Roadster (Convertible)

2016 Audi RS Q3 performance

2016 Audi RS Q3 performance – RS Q3 – Compact SUV – Crossover

2016 Audi RS 3 quattro

2016 Audi RS 3 quattro – RS 3 – Small Family Car – Saloon (Sedan) – 5-door Hatchback

2017 Audi RS4 Avant

2017 Audi RS4 Avant

2018 Audi RS4 Avant

2018 Audi RS4 Avant – RS 4 – Compact Executive Car – Avant (Estate/Wagon)

2017 Audi RS5 Coupe Quattro

2017 Audi RS5 Coupe Quattro – RS 5 – Compact Executive Car – Coupé – Cabriolet (Convertible)

2015 Audi RS6 Avant TFSi Quattro Automatic 4.0

2015 Audi RS6 Avant TFSi Quattro Automatic 4.0 – RS 6 – Executive Car – Avant (Estate/Wagon)

2016 Audi RS7 Sportback Performance Quattro

2016 Audi RS7 Sportback Performance Quattro – RS 7 – Executive Car – Sportback (5-door Liftback)

Electric vehicles

Audi is plan­ning an al­liance with the Japan­ese elec­tron­ics giant Sanyo to de­velop a pilot hy­brid elec­tric pro­ject for the Volk­swa­gen Group. The al­liance could re­sult in Sanyo bat­ter­ies and other elec­tronic com­po­nents being used in fu­ture mod­els of the Volk­swa­gen Group. Con­cept elec­tric ve­hi­cles un­veiled to date in­clude the Audi A1 Sport­back Concept, Audi A4 TDI Con­cept E, and the fully elec­tric Audi e-tron Con­cept Supercar.

Production figures

A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 A8 Q3 Q5 Q7 TT R8
1998 143,974 271,152 174,867 15,355 13,682
1999 143,505 252,514 162,573 14,636 52,579
2000 32,164 136,141 231,869 180,715 12,894 56,776
2001 49,369 131,082 308,778 186,467 11,708 39,349
2002 37,578 125,538 360,267 178,773 10,942 34,711
2003 27,323 159,417 353,836 168,612 21,748 32,337
2004 19,745 181,274 345,231 195,529 22,429 23,605
2005 10,026 224,961 337,705 215,437 21,515 1,185 12,307
2006 231,752 341,110 487 229,021 22,468 72,169 23,675 164
2007 231,117 289,806 25,549 243,842 22,182 162 77,395 56,766 4,125
2008 222,164 378,885 57,650 214,074 20,140 20,324 59,008 41,789 5,656
2009 206,747 282,033 84,883 182,090 8,599 105,074 27,929 22,821 2,101
2010 51,937 198,974 306,291 111,270 211,256 8,496 22,435 154,604 48,937 26,217 3,485
2011 117,566 189,068 321,045 111,758 241,862 37,301 38,542 19,613 183,678 53,703 25,508 3,551
2012 123,111 164,666 329,759 103,357 284,888 28,950 35,932 106,918 209,799 54,558 21,880 2,241
  • Data from 1998 to 2010. Figures for different body types/versions of models have been merged to create overall figures for each model.


Audi has com­peted in var­i­ous forms of mo­tor­sports. Audi’s tra­di­tion in mo­tor­sport began with their for­mer com­pany Auto Union in the 1930s. In the 1990s, Audi found suc­cess in the Tour­ing and Super Tour­ing cat­e­gories of motor rac­ing after suc­cess in cir­cuit rac­ing in North Amer­ica.


1984 Portugal Audi Quattro A2
Walter Röhrl with his Quattro A2 during the 1984 Rally Portugal

In 1980, Audi re­leased the Quat­tro, a four-wheel drive (4WD) tur­bocharged car that went on to win ral­lies and races world­wide. It is con­sid­ered one of the most sig­nif­i­cant rally cars of all time, be­cause it was one of the first to take ad­van­tage of the then-re­cently changed rules which al­lowed the use of four-wheel drive in com­pe­ti­tion rac­ing. Many crit­ics doubted the vi­a­bil­ity of four-wheel drive rac­ers, think­ing them to be too heavy and com­plex, yet the Quat­tro was to be­come a suc­cess­ful car. Lead­ing its first rally it went off the road, how­ever the rally world had been served no­tice 4WD was the fu­ture. The Quat­tro went on to achieve much suc­cess in the World Rally Cham­pi­onship. It won the 1983 (Hannu Mikkola) and the 1984 (Stig Blomqvistdri­vers’ ti­tles, and brought Audi the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ title in 1982 and 1984.

In 1984, Audi launched the short-wheel­base Sport Quat­trowhich dom­i­nated rally races in Monte Carlo and Swe­den, with Audi tak­ing all podium places, but suc­cumbed to prob­lems fur­ther into WRC con­tention. In 1985, after an­other sea­son mired in mediocre fin­ishes, Wal­ter Röhrl fin­ished the sea­son in his Sport Quat­tro S1, and helped place Audi sec­ond in the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ points. Audi also re­ceived rally ho­n­ours in the Hong Kong to Bei­jing rally in that same year. Michèle Mou­ton, the only fe­male dri­ver to win a round of the World Rally Cham­pi­onship and a dri­ver for Audi, took the Sport Quat­tro S1, now sim­ply called the “S1”, and raced in the Pikes Peak In­ter­na­tional Hill Climb. The 1,439-me­tre (4,721 ft) climb race pits a dri­ver and car to drive to the sum­mit of the 4,302-me­tre (14,114 ft) Pikes Peak moun­tain in Col­orado, and in 1985, Michèle Mou­ton set a new record of 11:25.39, and being the first woman to set a Pikes Peak record. In 1986, Audi for­mally left in­ter­na­tional rally rac­ing fol­low­ing an ac­ci­dent in Por­tu­gal in­volv­ing dri­ver Joaquim San­tos in his Ford RS200. San­tos swerved to avoid hit­ting spec­ta­tors in the road, and left the track into the crowd of spec­ta­tors on the side, killing three and in­jur­ing 30. Bobby Unser used an Audi in that same year to claim a new record for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb at 11:09.22.

In 1987, Wal­ter Röhrl claimed the title for Audi set­ting a new Pikes Peak In­ter­na­tional Hill Climb record of 10:47.85 in his Audi S1, which he had re­tired from the WRC two years ear­lier. The Audi S1 em­ployed Audi’s time-tested in­line-five-cylin­der tur­bocharged en­gine, with the final ver­sion gen­er­at­ing 441 kW (600 PS; 591 bhp). The en­gine was mated to a six-speed gear­box and ran on Audi’s fa­mous four-wheel drive sys­tem. All of Audi’s top dri­vers drove this car; Hannu Mikkola, Stig Blomqvist, Wal­ter Röhrl and Michèle Mou­ton. This Audi S1 started the range of Audi ‘S’ cars, which now rep­re­sents an in­creased level of sports-per­for­mance equip­ment within the main­stream Audi model range.

In the United States

As Audi moved away from ral­ly­ing and into cir­cuit rac­ing, they chose to move first into Amer­ica with the Trans-Am in 1988.

In 1989, Audi moved to In­ter­na­tional Motor Sports As­so­ci­a­tion (IMSA) GTO with the Audi 90, how­ever as they avoided the two major en­durance events (Day­tona and Se­bring) de­spite win­ning on a reg­u­lar basis, they would lose out on the title.

Touring cars

In 1990, hav­ing com­pleted their ob­jec­tive to mar­ket cars in North Amer­ica, Audi re­turned to Eu­rope, turn­ing first to the Deutsche Touren­wa­gen Meis­ter­schaft (DTM) se­ries with the Audi V8, and then in 1993, being un­will­ing to build cars for the new for­mula, they turned their at­ten­tion to the fast-grow­ing Super Tour­ing se­ries, which are a se­ries of na­tional cham­pi­onships. Audi first en­tered in the French Su­per­tourisme and Ital­ian Su­per­tur­ismo. In the fol­low­ing year, Audi would switch to the Ger­man Super Touren­wa­gen Cup (known as STW), and then to British Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship (BTCC) the year after that.

The Fédéra­tion In­ter­na­tionale de l’Au­to­mo­bile (FIA), hav­ing dif­fi­culty reg­u­lat­ing the quat­tro four-wheel drive sys­tem, and the im­pact it had on the com­peti­tors, would even­tu­ally ban all four-wheel drive cars from com­pet­ing in 1998, but by then, Audi switched all their works ef­forts to sports car rac­ing.

By 2000, Audi would still com­pete in the US with their RS4 for the SCCA Speed World GT Chal­lenge, through dealer/team Cham­pion Rac­ingcom­pet­ing against Corvettes, Vipers, and smaller BMWs (where it is one of the few se­ries to per­mit 4WD cars). In 2003, Cham­pion Rac­ing en­tered an RS6. Once again, the quat­tro four-wheel drive was su­pe­rior, and Cham­pion Audi won the cham­pi­onship. They re­turned in 2004 to de­fend their title, but a new­comer, Cadil­lac with the new Omega Chas­sis CTS-V, gave them a run for their money. After four vic­to­ries in a row, the Audis were sanc­tioned with sev­eral neg­a­tive changes that deeply af­fected the car’s per­for­mance. Namely, added bal­last weights, and Cham­pion Audi de­cid­ing to go with dif­fer­ent tyres, and re­duc­ing the boost pres­sure of the tur­bocharger.

In 2004, after years of com­pet­ing with the TT-R in the re­vi­talised DTM se­ries, with pri­va­teer team Abt Racing/Chris­t­ian Abt tak­ing the 2002 title with Lau­rent Aïello, Audi re­turned as a full fac­tory ef­fort to tour­ing car rac­ing by en­ter­ing two fac­tory sup­ported Joest Rac­ing A4 DTMcars.

24 Hours of Le Mans

Audi began rac­ing pro­to­type sports­cars in 1999, de­but­ing at the Le Mans 24 hour. Two car con­cepts were de­vel­oped and raced in their first sea­son – the Audi R8R (open-cock­pit ‘road­ster’ pro­to­type) and the Audi R8C (closed-cock­pit ‘coupé’ GT-pro­to­type). The R8R scored a cred­i­ble podium on its rac­ing debut at Le Mans and was the con­cept which Audi con­tin­ued to de­velop into the 2000 sea­son due to favourable rules for open-cock­pit pro­to­types.

How­ever, most of the com­peti­tors (such as BMW, Toy­ota, Mer­cedes and Nis­san) re­tired at the end of 1999. The fac­tory-sup­ported Joest Rac­ing team won at Le Mans three times in a row with the Audi R8 (2000–2002), as well as win­ning every race in the Amer­i­can Le Mans Se­ries in its first year. Audi also sold the car to cus­tomer teams such as Cham­pion Rac­ing.

In 2003, two Bent­ley Speed 8s, with en­gines de­signed by Audi, and dri­ven by Joest dri­vers loaned to the fel­low Volk­swa­gen Group com­pany, com­peted in the GTP class, and fin­ished the race in the top two po­si­tions, while the Cham­pion Rac­ing R8 fin­ished third over­all, and first in the LM­P900 class. Audi re­turned to the win­ner’s podium at the 2004 race, with the top three fin­ish­ers all dri­ving R8s: Audi Sport Japan Team Goh fin­ished first, Audi Sport UK Veloqx sec­ond, and Cham­pion Rac­ing third.

At the 2005 24 Hours of Le Mans, Cham­pion Rac­ing en­tered two R8s, along with an R8 from the Audi PlaySta­tion Team Oreca. The R8s (which were built to old LM­P900 reg­u­la­tions) re­ceived a nar­rower air inlet re­stric­tor, re­duc­ing power, and an ad­di­tional 50 kg (110 lb) of weight com­pared to the newer LMP1 chas­sis. On av­er­age, the R8s were about 2–3 sec­onds off pace com­pared to the PescaroloJudd. But with a team of ex­cel­lent dri­vers and ex­pe­ri­ence, both Cham­pion R8s were able to take first and third, while the Oreca team took fourth. The Cham­pion team was also the first Amer­i­can team to win Le Mans since the Gulf Ford GTs in 1967. This also ends the long era of the R8; how­ever, its re­place­ment for 2006, called the Audi R10 TDI, was un­veiled on 13 De­cem­ber 2005.

The R10 TDI em­ployed many new and in­no­v­a­tive fea­tures, the most no­table being the twin-tur­bocharged di­rect in­jec­tion diesel en­gine. It was first raced in the 2006 12 Hours of Se­bring as a race-test in prepa­ra­tion for the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, which it later went on to win. Audi has been on the fore­front of sports car rac­ing, claim­ing a his­toric win in the first diesel sports car at 12 Hours of Se­bring (the car was de­vel­oped with a Diesel en­gine due to ACO reg­u­la­tions that favor diesel en­gines). As well as win­ning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2006 mak­ing his­tory, the R10 TDI has also shown its ca­pa­bil­i­ties by beat­ing the Peu­geot 908 HDi FAP in 2007, and beat­ing Peu­geot again in 2008, (how­ever Peu­geot won the 24h in 2009) and, in a podium clean-sweep by prov­ing its re­li­a­bil­ity through­out the race (com­pared to all four 908 en­tries re­tired be­fore the end of the race) while break­ing a new dis­tance record (set way back by the Porsche 917K of Mar­tini Rac­ing in 1971), in 2010 with the R15 TDI Plus.

Audi’s sports car rac­ing suc­cess would con­tinue with the Audi R18‘s vic­tory at the 2011 24 Hours of Le MansAudi Sport Team Joest‘s Benoît Tréluyer earned Audi their first pole po­si­tion in five years while the team’s sis­ter car locked out the front row. Early ac­ci­dents elim­i­nated two of Audi’s three en­tries, but the sole re­main­ing Audi R18 TDI of Tréluyer, Mar­cel Fässler, and André Lot­terer held off the trio of Peu­geot 908s to claim vic­tory by a mar­gin of 13.8 sec­onds.


Car Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
1 Position 4 3 1 1 4 3 3 3 1 6 3 3 Ret 1 5 2 3 4
2 3 1 2 2 3 1 1 1 Ret 1 Ret 2 1 2 1 1 4 3
3 Ret 2 Ret 3 Ret 5 4 Ret 4 17 1 Ret 5 3 Ret 7
4 Ret Ret 7 2 3

American Le Mans Series

Audi en­tered a fac­tory rac­ing team run by Joest Rac­ing into the Amer­i­can Le Mans Se­ries under the Audi Sport North Amer­ica name in 2000. This was a suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tion with the team win­ning on its debut in the se­ries at the 2000 12 Hours of Se­bring. Fac­tory backed Audi R8s were the dom­i­nant car in ALMS tak­ing 25 vic­to­ries be­tween 2000 and the end of the 2002 sea­son. In 2003 Audi sold cus­tomer cars to Cham­pion Rac­ing as well as con­tin­u­ing to race the fac­tory Audi Sport North Amer­ica team. Cham­pion Rac­ing won many races as a pri­vate team run­ning Audi R8s and even­tu­ally re­placed Team Joest as the Audi Sport North Amer­ica be­tween 2006 and 2008. Since 2009 Audi has not taken part in full Amer­i­can Le Mans Se­ries Cham­pi­onships, but has com­peted in the se­ries open­ing races at Se­bring, using the 12-hour race as a test for Le Mans, and also as part of the 2012 FIA World En­durance Cham­pi­onship sea­son cal­en­dar.


Year Manufacturer Chassis Team Rd1 Rd2 Rd3 Rd4 Rd5 Rd6 Rd7 Rd8 Rd9 Rd10 Rd11 Rd12
2000 Germany Audi R8
United States Audi Sport North America 2 20 3 Ret 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1
1 6 4 3 2 Ret 1 4 2 2 1 15
2001 Germany Audi R8 United States Audi Sport North America 1 1 1 1 1 5 Ret 2 Ret Ret
2 2 2 2 2 2 1 4 1 1
2002 Germany Audi R8 United States Audi Sport North America 5 14 1 2 3 2 Ret 1 1 6
1 2 1 2 1 1 4 3 1
2003 Germany Audi R8 United States Audi Sport North America 1 2 2 1 1 7 1 2 3
United States Champion Racing 2 1 3 2 20 1 4 1 1
2004 Germany Audi R8 United Kingdom Audi Sport UK 1
United States Champion Racing 3 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1
2005 Germany Audi R8 United States Champion Racing 1 1 18 1 3 Ret 3 2 7 4
2 3 3 2 1 1 1 3 1 2
2006 Germany Audi R8 United States Audi Sport North America 1 3 1
R10 Ret 1 2 1 4 7 2
1 4 1 2 1 1 1
2007 Germany Audi R10 United States Audi Sport North America 4 1 7 3 2 5 5 2 2 3 1 1
1 2 12 6 23 3 3 4 2 17 3
2008 Germany Audi R10 United States Audi Sport North America 3 Ret 2 Ret 21 2 2 2 DSQ 1 2
6 1 1 7 4 1 1 1 Ret 3 1
2009 Germany Audi R15 United States Audi Sport North America 5
2010 Germany Audi R15 United States Audi Sport North America 1
2012 Germany Audi R18 Germany Audi Sport Team Joest 16
2013 Germany Audi R18 Germany Audi Sport Team Joest 1

European Le Mans Series

Audi par­tic­i­pated in the 2003 1000km of Le Mans which was a one-off sports car race in prepa­ra­tion for the 2004 Eu­ro­pean Le Mans Se­ries. The fac­tory team Audi Sport UK won races and the cham­pi­onship in the 2004 sea­son but Audi was un­able to match their sweep­ing suc­cess of Audi Sport North Amer­ica in the Amer­i­can Le Mans Se­ries, partly due to the ar­rival of a fac­tory com­peti­tor in LMP1, Peu­geot. The French man­u­fac­turer’s 908 HDi FAP be­came the car to beat in the se­ries from 2008 on­wards with 20 LMP wins. How­ever, Audi were able to se­cure the cham­pi­onship in 2008 even though Peu­geot scored more race vic­to­ries in the season.


Year Manufacturer Chassis Team Rd1 Rd2 Rd3 Rd4 Rd5
2003 Germany Audi R8 Japan Audi Sport Japan 1
2004 Germany Audi R8 United Kingdom Audi Sport UK 2 1 1 Ret
1 2 3 1
Japan Audi Sport Japan 3 4 2 2
2005 Germany Audi R8 France Team Oreca Ret 1 2 2
2008 Germany Audi R10 Germany Audi Sport Team Joest 5 6 4 4 1
2 2 2 3 4
2010 Germany Audi R15 Germany Audi Sport Team Joest 1 3 Ret
5 3

World Endurance Championship


In 2012, the FIA sanc­tioned a World En­durance Cham­pi­onship which would be or­gan­ised by the ACO as a con­tin­u­a­tion of the ILMC. Audi com­peted won the first WEC race at Se­bring and fol­lowed this up with a fur­ther three suc­ces­sive wins, in­clud­ing the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans. Audi scored a final 5th vic­tory in the 2012 WEC in Bahrain and were able to win the in­au­gural WEC Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ Cham­pi­onship.


As de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, Audi once again en­tered the Audi R18 e-tron quat­tro chas­sis into the 2013 WEC and the team won the first five con­sec­u­tive races, in­clud­ing the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans. The vic­tory at Round 5, Cir­cuit of the Amer­i­cas, was of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance as it marked the 100th win for Audi in Le Mans prototypes. Audi se­cured their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive WEC Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ Cham­pi­onship at Round 6 after tak­ing sec­ond place and half points in the red-flagged Fuji race.


For the 2014 sea­son Audi en­tered a re­designed and up­graded R18 e-tron quat­tro which fea­tured a 2 MJ en­ergy re­cov­ery sys­tem. As de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, Audi would once again face a chal­lenge in LMP1 from Toy­ota, and ad­di­tion­ally from Porsche who re­turned to en­durance rac­ing after a 16-year ab­sence. The sea­son open­ing 6hrs of Sil­ver­stone was a dis­as­ter for Audi who saw both cars re­tire from the race, mark­ing the first time that an Audi car has failed to score a podium in a World En­durance Cham­pi­onship race.


Year Manufacturer Chassis SEB
United States
United Kingdom
2012 Germany Audi R18 e-tron quattro 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 2 173 (209) 1st
Year Manufacturer Chassis SIL
United Kingdom
United States
2013 Germany Audi R18 e-tron quattro 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 207 (207) 1st
Year Manufacturer Chassis Car SIL
United Kingdom
United States
2014 Germany Audi R18 e-tron quattro 1 Ret 2 1 1 5 4 4 3 244 2nd
2 Ret 5 2 2 6 5 5 5

Formula E

Audi pro­vide fac­tory sup­port to Abt Sport­sline in the FIA For­mula E Cham­pi­onship, The team com­peted under the title of Audi Sport Abt For­mula E Team in the in­au­gural 2014-15 For­mula E sea­son. On 13 Feb­ru­ary 2014 the team an­nounced its dri­ver line up as Daniel Abtand World En­durance Cham­pi­onship dri­ver Lucas di Grassi.

Team Chassis Driver CHI
United States
United States
United States
United Kingdom
Germany Audi Sport Abt Formula E Team Spark-Renault SRT 01E Daniel Abt 10 10 15 2015 62
Lucas di Grassi 1 2 3 2015

Formula One

Audi has been linked to For­mula One in re­cent years but has al­ways re­sisted due to the com­pany’s opin­ion that it is not rel­e­vant to road cars, but hy­brid power unit tech­nol­ogy has been adopted into the sport, sway­ing the com­pany’s view and en­cour­ag­ing re­search into the pro­gram by for­mer Fer­rari team prin­ci­pal Ste­fano Domeni­cali.



The logo used by Audi, 1985–2009

The logo used by Audi, 1985–2009
The typeface Audi Sans (used 1997-2009)
The typeface Audi Sans (used 1997-2009)
The typeface Audi Type (used since 2009)
The typeface Audi Type (used since 2009)

The Audi em­blem is four over­lap­ping rings that rep­re­sent the four mar­ques of Auto Union. The Audi em­blem sym­bol­ises the amal­ga­ma­tion of Audi with DKW, Horch and Wan­derer: the first ring from the left rep­re­sents Audi, the sec­ond rep­re­sents DKW, third is Horch, and the fourth and last ring Wanderer. The de­sign is pop­u­larly be­lieved to have been the idea of Klaus von Oertzen, the di­rec­tor of sales at Wan­derer – when Berlin was cho­sen as the host city for the 1936 Sum­mer Olympics and that a form of the Olympic logo sym­bol­ized the newly es­tab­lished Auto Union’s de­sire to succeed. Some­what iron­i­cally, the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­teelater sued Audi in the In­ter­na­tional Trade­mark Court in 1995, where they lost.

The orig­i­nal “Audi” script, with the dis­tinc­tive slanted tails on the “A” and “d” was cre­ated for the his­toric Audi com­pany in 1920 by the fa­mous graphic de­signer Lu­cian Bern­hard, and was res­ur­rected when Volk­swa­gen re­vived the brand in 1965. Fol­low­ing the demise of NSU in 1977, less promi­nence was given to the four rings, in pref­er­ence to the “Audi” script en­cased within a black (later red) el­lipse, and was com­monly dis­played next to the Volk­swa­gen roundel when the two brands shared a dealer net­work under the V.A.G ban­ner. The el­lipse (known as the Audi Oval) was phased out after 1994, when Audi formed its own in­de­pen­dent dealer net­work, and promi­nence was given back to the four rings – at the same time Audi Sans (a de­riv­a­tive of Univers) was adopted as the font for all mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als, cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions and was also used in the ve­hi­cles them­selves.

As part of Audi’s cen­ten­nial cel­e­bra­tion in 2009, the com­pany up­dated the logo, chang­ing the font to left-aligned Audi Type, and al­ter­ing the shad­ing for the over­lap­ping rings. The re­vised logo was de­signed by Rayan Abdullah.

Audi de­vel­oped a Cor­po­rate Sound con­cept, with Audi Sound Stu­dio de­signed for pro­duc­ing the Cor­po­rate Sound. The Cor­po­rate Sound pro­ject began with sound agency Klangerfinder GmbH & Co KG and s12 GmbH. Audio sam­ples were cre­ated in Klangerfinder’s sound stu­dio in Stuttgart, be­com­ing part of Audi Sound Stu­dio col­lec­tion. Other Audi Sound Stu­dio com­po­nents in­clude The Brand Music Pool, The Brand Voice. Audi also de­vel­oped Sound Brand­ing Toolkit in­clud­ing cer­tain in­stru­ments, sound themes, rhythm and car sounds which all are sup­posed to re­flect the AUDI sound character.

Audi started using a beat­ing heart sound trade­mark be­gin­ning in 1996. An up­dated heart­beat sound logo, de­vel­oped by agen­cies KLANGERFINDER GmbH & Co KG of Stuttgart and S12 GmbH of Mu­nich, was first used in 2010 in an Audi A8 com­mer­cial with the slo­gan “The Art of Progress.”


Audi’s cor­po­rate tagline is Vor­sprung durch Technik, mean­ing “Progress through Technology”. The Ger­man-lan­guage tagline is used in many Eu­ro­pean coun­tries, in­clud­ing the United King­dom, and in other mar­kets, such as Latin Amer­ica, Ocea­nia and parts of Asia in­clud­ing Japan. A few years ago, the North Amer­i­can tagline was “In­no­va­tion through technology”, but in Canada the Ger­man tagline Vor­sprung durch Technik was used in ad­ver­tis­ing. Since 2007, Audi has used the slo­gan “Truth in En­gi­neer­ing” in the U.S. How­ever, since the Audi emis­sions test­ing scan­dal came to light in Sep­tem­ber 2015, this slo­gan was lam­basted for being dis­cor­dant with reality. In fact, just hours after dis­graced Volk­swa­gen CEO Mar­tin Win­terkorn ad­mit­ted to cheat­ing on emis­sions data, an ad­ver­tise­ment dur­ing the 2015 Prime­time Emmy Awards pro­moted Audi’s lat­est ad­vances in low emis­sions tech­nol­ogy with Ker­mit the Frog stat­ing, “It’s not that easy being green.”

It was first used in Eng­lish-lan­guage ad­ver­tis­ing after Sir John Hegarty of the Bar­tle Bogle Hegarty ad­ver­tis­ing agency vis­ited the Audi fac­tory in 1982. In the orig­i­nal British tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials, the phrase was voiced by Ge­of­frey Palmer. After its re­peated use in ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns, the phrase found its way into pop­u­lar cul­ture, in­clud­ing the British com­edy Only Fools and Horses, the U2 song “Zooropa” and the Blur song “Park­life“. Sim­i­lar-sound­ing phrases have also been used, in­clud­ing as the punch­line for a joke in the movie Lock, Stock, and Two Smok­ing Bar­rels and in the British TV se­ries Peep Show.


Audi Sans (based on Univers Ex­tended) was orig­i­nally cre­ated in 1997 by Ole Schäfer for MetaDe­sign. MetaDe­sign was later com­mis­sioned for a new cor­po­rate type­face called Audi Type, de­signed by Paul van der Laan and Pieter van Ros­malen of Bold Mon­day. The font began to ap­pear in Audi’s 2009 prod­ucts and mar­ket­ing materials.


2008 Allianz arena at night Richard BartzAudi sponsors Bundesliga club Bayern Munich

Audi is a strong part­ner of dif­fer­ent kinds of sports. In foot­ball, long part­ner­ships exist be­tween Audi and do­mes­tic clubs in­clud­ing Bay­ern Mu­nichHam­burger SV1. FC Nürn­bergHertha BSC, and Borus­sia Mönchenglad­bach and in­ter­na­tional clubs in­clud­ing ChelseaReal MadridFC BarcelonaA.C. MilanAFC Ajax and Per­spo­lis. Audi also spon­sors win­ter sports: The Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup is named after the com­pany. Ad­di­tion­ally, Audi sup­ports the Ger­man Ski As­so­ci­a­tion (DSV) as well as the alpine ski­ing na­tional teams of Switzer­land, Swe­den, Fin­land, France, Liecht­en­stein, Italy, Aus­tria and the U.S. For al­most two decades, Audi fos­ters golf sport: for ex­am­ple with the Audi quat­tro Cup and the Hy­poVere­ins­bank Ladies Ger­man Open pre­sented by Audi. In sail­ing, Audi is en­gaged in the Med­cup re­gatta and sup­ports the team Luna Rossa dur­ing the Louis Vuit­ton Pa­cific Se­ries and also is the pri­mary spon­sor of the Melges 20 sail­boat. Fur­ther, Audi spon­sors the re­gional teams ERC In­gol­stadt (hockey) and FC In­gol­stadt 04 (soc­cer). In 2009, the year of Audi’s 100th an­niver­sary, the com­pany or­ga­nized the Audi Cup for the first time. Audi also spon­sor the New York Yan­kees as well. In Oc­to­ber 2010 they agreed to a three spon­sor­ship year-deal with Ever­ton. Audi also spon­sors the Eng­land PoloTeam and holds the Audi Polo Awards.

Multitronic campaign

Audi Centre Sydney, Zetland, New South Wales, Australia
Audi Centre Sydney, Zetland, New South Wales, Australia

In 2001, Audi pro­moted the new mul­ti­tronic con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion with tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials through­out Eu­rope, fea­tur­ing an im­per­son­ator of mu­si­cian and actor Elvis Pres­ley. A pro­to­typ­i­cal dash­board fig­ure – later named “Wackel-Elvis” (“Wob­ble Elvis” or “Wob­bly Elvis”) – ap­peared in the com­mer­cials to demon­strate the smooth ride in an Audi equipped with the mul­ti­tronic trans­mis­sion. The dash­board fig­ure was orig­i­nally in­tended for use in the com­mer­cials only, but after they aired the de­mand for Wackel-Elvis fans grew among fans and the fig­ure was mass-pro­duced in China and mar­keted by Audi in their fac­tory out­let store.

Audi TDI

As part of Audi’s at­tempt to pro­mote its Diesel tech­nol­ogy in 2009, the com­pany began Audi Mileage Marathon. The dri­ving tour fea­tured a fleet of 23 Audi TDI ve­hi­cles from 4 mod­els (Audi Q73.0 TDI, Audi Q5 3.0 TDI, Audi A4 3.0 TDI, Audi A3 Sport­back 2.0 TDI with S tronic trans­mis­sion) trav­el­ling across the Amer­i­can con­ti­nent from New York to Los An­ge­les, pass­ing major cities like Chicago, Dal­las and Las Vegas dur­ing the 13 daily stages, as well as nat­ural won­ders in­clud­ing the Rocky Moun­tains, Death Val­ley and the Grand Canyon.

Audi e-tron

The next phase of tech­nol­ogy Audi is de­vel­op­ing is the e-tron elec­tric drive pow­er­train sys­tem. They have shown sev­eral con­cept cars as of March 2010, each with dif­fer­ent lev­els of size and per­for­mance. The orig­i­nal e-tron con­cept shown at the 2009 Frank­furt motor show is based on the plat­form of the R8 and has been sched­uled for lim­ited pro­duc­tion. Power is pro­vided by elec­tric mo­tors at all four wheels. The sec­ond con­cept was shown at the 2010 De­troit Motor Show. Power is pro­vided by two elec­tric mo­tors at the rear axle. This con­cept is also con­sid­ered to be the di­rec­tion for a fu­ture mid-en­gined gas-pow­ered 2-seat per­for­mance coupe. The Audi A1 e-tron con­cept, based on the Audi A1 pro­duc­tion model, is a hy­brid ve­hi­cle with a range ex­tend­ing Wankel ro­tary en­gine to pro­vide power after the ini­tial charge of the bat­tery is de­pleted. It is the only con­cept of the three to have range ex­tend­ing ca­pa­bil­ity. The car is pow­ered through the front wheels, al­ways using elec­tric power.

It is all set to be dis­played at the Auto Expo 2012 in New Delhi, India, from 5 Jan­u­ary. Pow­ered by a 1.4 litre en­gine, and can cover a dis­tance up to 54 km s on a sin­gle charge. The e-tron was also shown in the 2013 block­buster film Iron Man 3 and was dri­ven by Tony Stark (Iron Man).

In video games

In PlaySta­tion Home, the PlaySta­tion 3‘s on­line com­mu­nity-based ser­vice, Audi has sup­ported Home by re­leas­ing a ded­i­cated Home spacein the Eu­ro­pean ver­sion of Home. Audi is the first car­maker to de­velop a space for Home. On 17 De­cem­ber 2009, Audi re­leased the Audi Space as two spaces; the Audi Home Ter­mi­nal and the Audi Ver­ti­cal Run. The Audi Home Ter­mi­nal fea­tures an Audi TV chan­nel de­liv­er­ing video con­tent, an In­ter­net Browser fea­ture, and a view of a city. The Audi Ver­ti­cal Run is where users can ac­cess the mini-game Ver­ti­cal Run, a fu­tur­is­tic mini-game fea­tur­ing Audi’s e-tron con­cept. Play­ers col­lect en­ergy and race for the high­est pos­si­ble speeds and the fastest play­ers earn a place in the Audi apart­ments lo­cated in a large tower in the cen­tre of the Audi Space. In both the Home Ter­mi­nal and Ver­ti­cal Run spaces, there are tele­ports where users can tele­port back and forth be­tween the two spaces. Audi has stated that ad­di­tional con­tent will be added in 2010.

The pictures I collected the last 15 years on the www:

1896 Audibert-lavirotte F1913 Audi 18-45PS, Staff Car1913 Audi Typ C1923 Audi Jaray1923 Audi Typ E1930 Audi dresden s1930 audi nmve1930 Audi Typ SS1931 Audi zwickau cabrio typ-ss 20-100ps by seegers1933 Audi front sport cabrio glaser1934 Audi uw1935 Audi 225 Special Roadster1935 Audi front 225 spezial roadster1935 Model Audi 225 Front Special Roadster1936 Audi front sedan1937 Audi 225 special cabrio1938 Audi 920 cabrio glaser1938 audi 920 limousine1939 Audi 920 cabrio1939 Audi Typ 9201939 Audi1940 Audi 920 limousine1960 Audi 621962 Audi 721963 Prachtige Audi Politieauto1965 Audi F103 series Audi front design proposal made by Bertone in 1965 to replace DKW F102 after VW ownership back1965 Audi F103 series Audi front design proposal made by Bertone in 1965 to replace DKW F102 after VW ownership1965 Audi1966 Audi 60 2T Limousine1966 Audi 80 VariantHannover, Internationale Polizeiausstellung1966 Audi variant1967 Audi Super 90, 90 PS (1966-1969)1968 Audi 601968 Audi 75 variant1968 Audi 1001968 Audi super 901968-69 Audi-F1031968-73 Audi 100OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1969 Audi 1001969 Audi lav189 -1970s Audi 100 LS (10711003326)1971 Audi 75L1971 Audi modelrangen1972 Audi 60 L, 1500 cm³, 4 Zyl., 55 PS1972 Audi 75 in central Germany1972 Audi 75 Variant1972 Audi 751972 Audi 100 GL1972 Audi 100 LS1972 Audi Super 901972-76 Audi 80Wolfsburg, VW Autowerk1973 Audi Karmann Asso di Picche by ItalDesign1974 Audi 80 Fox Station Wagon1974 Audi 100 C1 Coupe S Automatic1974 Audi 100 C1, 1600 cm³, 85 PS (1974-1976)Landscape1974 Audi 100 Viertürer (1973–1974)1975 Audi 501976 Audi 80 B1 (1976-1978)1976 Audi 100 Coupé (C1)1976 Audi 100 Coupé S (1974–1976)1977 Audi 80 GLS1977 Audi Fox (US-Version)1979 Audi 80 B1 Estate England1979 Audi 100 2 door Belgian Coast1979 Audi 200 Park Terrace1980 Audi 80 b21981 Audi 801981 Audi 1001981 Audi 4000 US-spec 2-door version, shown by the headlamp configuration and large bumpers1981 Audi 50001982 Audi 100 C31982-91 Audi 1001983 Audi 80 1.8 GL mint1983 Audi 100 Avant (10066143816)1984 Audi quattro A2 at the 1984 Rally Portugal1986 Audi 80 GT (white)1986 Audi Coupe GT5E1987 Audi 80 1.8, 75PS - first registered 19 Nov 19871987 Audi 90Q Typ891987 Audi 100 C31988 Audi 80 quattro1989 Audi 80 avant1989 Audi 801989 Audi 90 quattro 20 valve 125kW (170 Bhp) inline 5-cylinder engine quattro all-wheel-driveIM000280.JPG1990 Audi 100 Avant TDI1990 Audi Coupe in ginstergelb1992 Audi 80 (8A) 2.0 E sedan1992 Audi 801993 Audi 80 quattro 2,5 DTM B41993 Audi 100 (4A) 2.8 E quattro sedan (2012-10-26)1994 Audi S2 Coupé1995 Audi 80 (8C) 2.6 E sedan1995 Audi 80 TDi SE 1.91995 Audi Cabriolet (8G) 2.6 E convertible1996 Audi A6 C41996 Audi S2 Coupe1998 Audi Cabriolet a1998 Audi cabriolet2003 Audi lemans quattro-studie cropped2004 Audi TT Coupé2004 Cammy~Conversions~Audi~5000~SEL~C42005 Audi AS4 Avant ABT2005 Audi S8 (4.2l, 265 kW))2006 Audi 200 quattro vl black2006 Audi A4 B7 Cabriolet2006 Audi R10 TDI2006 Hongqi CA7202 in Shanghai Chinese version of Audi 1002006 Volkswagen W12 engine2007 Audi 100 C4 front 200710072007 Audi A3 silver vl2007 Audi Quattro S1 driven during the 2007 Rallye Deutschland2007 Audi R8 Engine 4,2L V8 DOHC FSI2007 Audi tt2007 Audi TT-R, ABT Sportsline Tuning2008 Allianz arena at night Richard Bartz2008 Audi A3 Cabriolet (8P)2008 Audi A3 Sportback rear2008 Audi A32008 Audi A4 B6 Cabriolet2008 AUDI A4 B8 LED DaytimeRunningLights2008 Audi A8 D32008 Audi Quattro 20V2008 Audi TT 3.2 Roadster2009 Audi A5 Cabriolet2010 Audi A1 1.4 TFSI Ambition Pro Line S-Tronic2010 Audi A8 D4 4.2 TDI quattro2010 Audi TT Roadster TFSI (8J) Facelift

2011 Audi A5 Coupé 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic Gletscherweiß Facelift2011 Audi A6 3.0 TDI quattro (C7)2012 Audi A1 S-line2012 Audi A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI Ambition2012 Audi A1 Sportback Ambition 1.6 TDI2012 Audi A2 1.2 TDI2012 Audi A2 back2012 Audi A22012 Audi A3 8V 1.4 TFSI2012 Audi A6 C7 allroad quattro Phantomschwarz2012 Audi A6 Hybrid2012 Audi R8 - Alexandre Prevost2012 Audi R8 GT2012 Audi S5 sideleft2012 Audi S5 Sportback2013 AUDI A8 W122013 Audi S7 Sportback2014 Audi A1 Sportback 1.6 TDI S Line Style Edition 5d2014 Audi TT 8S2014 Audi TT virtual cockpit2015 Audi A4 B9 3.0 TDI quattro V6 200 kW S line Tango Red Front View2015 Audi A8V10plus2015 Audi RS6 Avant TFSi Quattro Automatic 4.02015 Audi S42015 Audi S62015 Audi S7 Sportback C7 facelift 032015 Audi S8 plus2015 Audi TT (20444900760)2015 Audi TTS (8S)2015 Audi-A3-TDI-1022015 Audi-A3-TDI-110Audi A1 Sportback2016 Audi A4 allroad quattro A4allroad Detroit_Auto_Show_20162016 Audi A5 II coupé2016 Audi Q3 quattro Sport (Facelift)2016 Audi Q5 2.0 T quattro2016 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI quattro S-line (II)2016 Audi RS 3 quattro2016 Audi RS Q3 performance2016 Audi RS7 Sportback Performance Quattro2016 Audi RS7 Sportback2017 Audi A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI Sport Manual 1.4L 5D Hatchback2017 Audi A3 SportBack 2.0 TFSI S-line2017 Audi A4 (8W) S-Line quattro sedan2017 Audi A6 SE Executive TDI Ultra S-A 2.02017 Audi A8 D5 TFSI Quattro2017 Audi Q2 Sport TDi 1.62017 Audi RS4 Avant2017 Audi RS5 Coupe Quattro2017 Audi S32017 Audi SQ72018 Audi A6 Monrepos2018 AUDI A7 55 TFSI quattro-Geneva_International_Motor_Show_2018,_Le_Grand-Saconnex_(1X7A1755)2018 Audi Q82018 Audi RS4 Avant2018 Audi S1 Competition Quattro 2.02018 Audi S5 TFSi Quattro Automatic 3.02018 Audi SQ5 3.02018 Audi TT RS CoupeAudi 2 DAudi 60 L LimousineAudi 75 Variant (1968–1970)Audi 75Audi 80 (B1) faceliftAudi 80 (B1) pre-facelift (rear)Audi 80 B1 backAudi 80 B1Audi 80 B2Audi 80 B4Audi 80 GLS 4dAudi 80 L 02Audi 80 Variant (F103)Audi 90 (1984-1986)Audi 100 C1 4dAudi 100 C1Audi 100 C2 (CD 5S)Audi 100 C2 4d L50Audi 100 C2 avantAudi 100 C4Audi 100 Coupé S (1970–1973)Audi 100 GL (1971–1973)Audi 100 LS 2dAudi 100 LS Viertürer (1971–1973)Audi 100 LS Zweitürer (1969–1971)Audi 100 LSAudi 100 US-Modell (1974–1977)Audi 200 quattro vl blackAudi A NotartztAudi A2 ArtsenuitvoeringAudi A3 RVV ArtsenuitvoeringAudi A4 allroad quattro PhantomschwarzAudi A4 B5 AvantAudi A4 B5Audi A4 B6 8EAudi A4 B7 SedanAudi A4 B8 Limousine Ambiente 2.0 TDI EissilberAudi A5 leftAudi A6 allroad quattro 3.0 TFSI (C6, Facelift)Audi A6 C5Audi A6 C6 FaceliftAudi A6-C4Der neue Audi A7 Sportback auf der Weltpremiere in Muenchen.Audi allroad quattroAudi AllroadAudi CoupeAudi head office in IngolstadtAudi IAudi Laurent Aiello DTM(ThKraft)AUDI LIMOAudi NLAudi Q3 quattro /Standaufnahmeaudi q3Audi Q5 (2)audi q5audi r8 gtr razoAudi R8 V-10 de Heffner ElfaroAUDI R18 7Audi Rosemeyer ModellMINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAudi RS4 B5Audi RS4 Cabrioletaudi RS6Audi S6 EmblemAudi S6 FähnchenAudi S8 1Audi sponsors Bundesliga club Bayern Munich Allianz ArenaAudi Sport RacewagenOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAudi TTAudi TT-RSAudi TTS GlutorangeAudi Typ 89Audi Urban conceptAudi v8 dtmAudi V8 QuattroAudi V8. VFAudiaudi-a3-clubsport-quattro-concept-1audi-a3-clubsport-quattro-concept-2audi-allroad-shooting-brake-concept-1audi-allroad-shooting-brake-concept-2Audi-Logo unter der Auto Unionaudi-prologue-conceptaudi-prologue-concept-2DKW F 102 Audi F103's body closely followed that of the earlier DKW F102, shown here, though the Audi's engine was a break with the two-stroke DKW traditionDKW F102 (l) + Audi F103 (r)DKW-Logo – die vier Ringe der Auto Union entsprechen den vier Marken Audi, DKW, Horch und WandererEntwicklung Audi KühlergrillFAW Hongqi Audi 100 C3 (Typ 44) - in einer werksseitig verkauften Sonderversion als BestattungsfahrzeugGedenktafel am ersten Firmensitz in IngolstadtHongqi CA7180A2EL1 01 China 2016-04-11IFA F9, Typ 309-1LED Daytime Running Lightslogo used by Audi, 1985–2009Logos AudiThe typeface Audi Sans (used 1997-2009)The typeface Audi Type (used since 2009)

That’s it as far as my pictures go.

See also


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External links

DELAGE Cars 1905 – 1953 Levallois-Perret, France


Founded 1905
Founder Louis Delage
Defunct 1953
Headquarters Levallois-Perret, France
Products Cars
Delage D8-120

Delage was a French luxury automobile and racecar company founded in 1905 by Louis Delage in Levallois-Perret near Paris; it was acquired by Delahaye in 1935 and ceased operation in 1953.

Early history

The company was founded in 1905 by Louis Delage, who borrowed Fr 35,000, giving up a salary of Fr 600 a month to do so.

Its first location was on the Rue Cormeilles in Levallois-Perret. The company at first had just two lathes and three employees, one of them Peugeot‘s former chief designer. Delage initially produced parts for Helbé, with the De Dion-Bouton engine and chassis assembled by Helbé; Delage added only the body.

The first model was the Type A, a voiturette which appeared in 1906. It was powered by a one-cylinder De Dion-Bouton of 4.5 or 9 hp (3.4 or 6.7 kW; 4.6 or 9.1 PS). Like other early carmakers, Delage participated in motor racing, entering the Coupe de Voiturettes held at Rambouillet in November 1906 with a 9 hp (6.7 kW; 9.1 PS) racer. Seven days of regularity trials decided the entrants, and one of the two 9 hp (6.7 kW; 9.1 PS) Delage specials was wrecked in the rain on the fifth; nevertheless, Ménard, the other works driver, came second in the event, behind a Sizaire-Naudin.

In 1907 the factory moved to the Rue Baudin Levallois, where a 4,000 m2 (43,000 sq ft) workshop allowed it to grow. The two-cylinder Delages were no match for the competition this year at the Coupe des Voiturettes.

In 1908, the success enabled the development of the factory and entry into more Grand Prix races. That year, racing success returned: Delage won the Grand Prix des Voiturettes held 6 July. This event, six laps of the 47.74 mi (76.83 km) Dieppe Grand Prix circuit, saw 47 starters. Delage fielded three cars: a pair with 1,242 cc (75.8 cu in) (78 by 130 mm (3.1 by 5.1 in)) De Dion-Bouton twins, driven by Thomas and Lucas-Bonnard, and a radical 28 hp (21 kW; 28 PS) 1,257 cc (76.7 cu in) (100 by 160 mm (3.9 by 6.3 in)) one-cylinder (built by Nemorin Causan) in the hands of Delage dealer Albert Guyot. Guyot won at an average 49.8 mph (80.1 km/h), not needing to stop for fuel. All three Delages finished this time, Thomas the quickest of the two-cylinder cars, while the team also took home the regularity prize. These good results contributed to total sales exceeding 300 cars for the year.

Delage converted to four-cylinder engines in 1909, at first provided by De Dion and Edouard Ballot; shortly, the company were producing their own sidevalve fours, too.

After an increase in sales, the existing facilities were too small, so in 1910 the factory moved to a new facility at 138 Boulevard de Verdun, Courbevoie. The following year saw the creation of advanced bodywork. By 1912, 350 workers were producing over 1000 cars annually, and offered four- and six-cylinder sidevalve engines.

During the First World War, Delage produced munitions. Production of passenger cars virtually stopped, with the exception of some fabrication for the Army. But the Delage factories were running full support for the war effort.

When the war concluded, Delage moved away from small cars and made its reputation with larger cars. First up was the CO, with a 4,524 cc (276.1 cu in) (80 by 150 mm (3.1 by 5.9 in)) fixed-head sidevalve six producing 20 hp. The CO plans had been drawn up during the conflict; this was the first passenger car with front brakes. It was joined by the DO with a 3-liter four.

The 1920s were really the first “Golden Age” of Delage. The most famous were the DE and DI: 4 cylinders of about 2 liters and 11 hp. Delage also attempted to compete with Hispano-Suiza, with the GL of 30 hp and 5954 cc, with some success. After that came a new generation of six-cylinder cars, like the MD (3174 cc) and DR (2516 cc), the best-selling vehicle in the history of the brand, designed by engineer Gaultier.

Both the CO and DO were replaced in 1922. The CO became the CO2, which changed to an overhead valve twin-plug head, producing 88 hp (66 kW; 89 PS), while the DO was supplanted by the DE with a 2,117 cc (129.2 cu in) (72 by 130 mm (2.8 by 5.1 in)) sidevalve four and, unusual in a production car even in this era, four-wheel brakes. The CO2 completed the Paris-Nice run in 16 hours, an average of 67 km/h (42 mph).

The next year, the new 14 hp (10 kW; 14 PS) DI also switched to OHV with a 2,121 cc (129.4 cu in) (75 by 120 mm (3.0 by 4.7 in)) four, fitted with magneto ignition and thermosyphon cooling; all had four-speed gearboxes and Zenith carburettors. At the other end of the scale, the GL (Grand Luxe), also known as the 40/50, replaced the CO2, being fitted with a magneto-fired 5,344 cc (326.1 cu in) (90 by 140 mm (3.5 by 5.5 in)) overhead cam six.

In 1923, a hillclimb car with DI chassis, larger wheels and tires, and 5,107 cc (311.6 cu in) (85 by 150 mm (3.3 by 5.9 in)) CO block (with three Zenith carburetors) was produced. Delage scored successes at La Turbie and Mont Ventoux. This car was joined by a 10,688 cc (652.2 cu in) (90 by 140 mm (3.5 by 5.5 in)) V12, which broke the course record at the Gaillon hillclimb, with Thomas at the wheel. Thomas would set the land speed record at Arpajon in this car, at a speed of 143.24 mph (230.52 km/h), in 1924. A 1925 car had a 5,954 cc (363.3 cu in) (95 by 140 mm (3.7 by 5.5 in)) six, again using the GL block, with four valves per cylinder and twin overhead cams. Driven by Divo, it broke the Mont Ventoux course record in its debut. It would be destroyed by fire at the Phoenix Park meet in 1934.

The 1924 and 1925 DIS, with a 117 in (3,000 mm) wheelbase, switched from Rolls-Royce-type locking wheel hubs to Rudge knock-ons, better cam, and bigger valves, while the 1925 and 1926 DISS on the same wheelbase. Some of the DISes were bodied by Kelsch. The DIS became the Series 6 in 1927, switching to coil ignition and water pump.

In 1926, Delage introduced the DM, with a 3,182 cc (194.2 cu in) (75 by 120 mm (3.0 by 4.7 in)) six, which made it emblematic of the era for the marque. The high-performance DMS had hotter cam, twin valve springs, and other improvements. A DR, with a choice of 2.2- and 2.5-liter sidevalve engines, also briefly appeared.


Delage entered the 1911 Coupe de l’Auto at Boulogne with a 50 hp (37 kW; 51 PS) 2,996 cc (182.8 cu in) (80 by 149 mm (3.1 by 5.9 in)) four with two 60 mm (2.4 in)-diameter bellcrank-operated valves per cylinder controlled by camshafts in the crankcase. The five-speed gearbox gave a top speed of 60 mph (97 km/h), and the four voiturettes each carried 26 imp gal (120 l; 31 US gal), as the factory planned for a no-stop race. Works driver Paul Bablot won, at an average 55.2 mph (88.8 km/h), with a 1m 11s over Boillot’s Peugeot, followed home by Thomas in a second Delage; Delage also took the team prize.

Delage would move up to Grand Prix racing in 1912, with a Léon Michelat-designed car powered by a four-valve 6,235 cc (380.5 cu in) (105 by 180 mm (4.1 by 7.1 in)) four-cylinder of 118 hp (88 kW; 120 PS), coupled again to a five-speed gearbox and fitted this time with 43 imp gal (200 l; 52 US gal). Three cars were built for the 569 mi (916 km) Amiens Grand Prix, though only two, Bablot’s and Guyot’s, actually entered. On the day, Bablot’s Delage proved the fastest car in the field, turning in a lap at 76.6 mph (123.3 km/h), but it was Guyot who would fall out of the lead with a puncture, and the race went to Peugeot, while the Delages were fourth and fifth. At the French Grand Prix, Delage put Bablot first, Guyot second, ahead of Pilette’s 1908 Mercedes GP car, Salzer in a Mercedes, with Duray coming in fifth in the third Delage.

In 1913, the new type Y set the fasted lap time at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, and in 1914, this same car won the 1914 Indianapolis 500 with René Thomas at the wheel. Thomas, Guyot, and Duray would return to the French Grand Prix with 4½-liter twin-cam desmodromic valved racers featuring twin carburettors, five-speed gearbox, and four-wheel brakes. While quick, they proved unreliable; only one finished, Duray’s, in eighth.

In 1914, Delage emphasized its focus on competition by creating the type O Lyon Grand Prix, while at the same time moving towards the luxury car market with 6 cylinders of a large class. However, racing was severely curtailed during World War One.

Delage D6

In 1923 Louis Delage returned to competition with the innovative 12-cylinder 2-liter type 2 LCV. This car won the 1924 European Grand Prix in Lyon and the 1925 Grand Prix of ACF Montlhéry. The 12-cylinder DH (10,5 liters) of 1924 beat the world speed record on the highway, at 230 km/h (143 mph). A Delage 155 B won the first Grand Prix of Great-Britain in 1926, driven by Louis Wagner and Robert Senechal. The production of cars continued with the DI and the DI S SS. The DM evolved into the DMS and DML, equipped with a 6-cylinder 3-liter engine designed by Maurice Gaultier.

Delage’s Grand Prix effort saw a Plancton-designed 1,984 cc (121.1 cu in) (51.3 by 80 mm (2.02 by 3.15 in)) four overhead cam V12. The 110 hp (82 kW; 110 PS) car, driven by Thomas, fell out of the French Grand Prix in 1923, but went on to perform well for the bulk of the 1923 and 1924 season. With supercharger added in 1925, bringing output to 195 hp (145 kW; 198 PS), it won at Montlhéry and Lasarteproving as fast as the Alfa Romeo P2, but rarely racing it directly. This car was supplanted in 1926 by a Lory-designed supercharged 1.5-liter twincam straight eight of 170 hp (130 kW; 170 PS); capable of 130 mph (210 km/h), it was the company’s last Grand Prix entrant.

A Delage supercharged straight-8 racing engine

Always passionate about racing, Louis Delage designed an 8-cylinder 1500 cc, the type 15 S 8. This car won four European Grands Prix races in 1927, and won Delage the title “World Champion of Car Builders” that same year.

A 2,988 cc (182.3 cu in)-powered D6 won the 1938 Tourist Trophy at Donington Park and came second at Le Mans. A single V12-powered car, intended for Le Mans, tragically caught fire at the 1938 International Trophy at Brooklands.

Postwar, the best results Delage had were seconds at the 1949 Le Mans and 1950 Paris Grand Prix.

The D6 and the D8: The Classic Era

1930 saw the launch of the 6-cylinder Delage D6 which would form the mainstay of the manufacturer’s passenger car range until 1954.

For 1930 Maurice Gaultier designed an 8-cylinder in-line 4,061 cc, evolving the type D8 into the type D8 S (S for Sport).

1939 Delage D8

The D8 was the pinnacle of the marque. It was offered in three wheelbases, “S” or “C” at 130 in (3,300 mm), “N” at 140 in (3,600 mm), and “L” at 143 in (3,600 mm), all powered by a 4,061 cc (247.8 cu in) (77 by 109 mm (3.0 by 4.3 in)) straight eight, making it capable of 85 mph (137 km/h). Delage followed in 1932 with the Grand Sport, on a 123 in (3,100 mm) 130 in (3,300 mm) in 1934) wheelbase, capable of 100 mph (160 km/h).

But the backlash of the economic crisis of 1929 arrived and manufacturers of luxury cars all over the world suffered from poor sales. The commercial and financial situation of the firm was badly shaken. In 1932 Delage introduced the type D6-11 (6-cylinder 2101 cc), and two years later the new eight-cylinder Delage, type D8-15 (2768 cc). These two models, equipped with independent front wheel suspension did not increase sale figures. The transverse leaf and wishbone independent front suspension was licensed by Studebaker for their cars.

The junior D6s shared Delahaye front suspension design, but had hydraulic rather than Delahaye cable-actuated brakes, also shared the Cotal gearbox with the D8. The D6/70 of 1936 was powered by a 2,729 cc (166.5 cu in) (80 by 90.5 mm (3.15 by 3.56 in)) six, the 1938 D6/75 a 2.8-liter six, and the postwar D8/3L Olympic a 3-liter six. At the bottom of the range was a 1.5-liter four that lasted until 1936.

Financial pressures never disappeared, however, and during the Spring of 1932 Louis Delage was obliged to take out a 25 Million franc loan in order to finance the tooling needed to put the D6 into production. It was at this time that he also entered into negotiations with Peugeot about using their dealership and service network. These negotiations went nowhere, and discussions with other possible partners/rescuers also came to nothing. There were also personal problems involving his marriage which necessitated a rearrangement of Delage’s personal finances, although in the event it was the sale of his expensive home in the Champs-Élysées that reduced the pressure on his finances if only in the short term.

The last models to emerge from the factory in Courbevoie were the types D6-65, D8-85 and D8-105, designed by engineer Michelat. On 20 April 1935 the factory in Courbevoie went into voluntary liquidation.

But Louis Delage would not admit defeat, and with the help of a businessman called Walter Watney created the Société Nouvelle des Automobiles Delage (SAFAD), to market Delage cars, assembled from production Delahayes. This union created the 4-cylinder DI 12 and the D8 120, and also the 6-cylinder D6 70. Watney had taken control as president of SAFAD, but he was a British national and in June 1940 he was obliged to leave Paris as the German Army arrived. Watney stayed in France, at his villa in Beaulieu, until the end of 1942 after the Germans had completed their occupation, but already in December 1940 the presidency of the SAFAD business had passed directly into the control of Delahaye. In any event, since the outbreak of the war Delage had been largely inactive, although they did undertake work on a project to replace the six-cylinder engine of the Hotchkiss H39 tank with the more powerful 8-cylinder unit from the Delage D8 120.

Racing aero-engines

Delage produced at least two types of racing aero-engine during the early 1930s. The Delage 12 CED was fitted to the Kellner-Béchereau 28VD racing aircraft, intended to compete in the 1933 Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe air race. Unfortunately the aircraft crashed during qualification trials for the race on 12 May 1933. The second engine type, the Delage 12 GV, remains a mystery, with very little information available.

After the Second World War

A large prototype Delage D-180 limousine appeared at the 1946 Paris Motor Show but there were evidently no further developments on this project and by the next year the big prototype had quietly disappeared. At the 1947 Paris Motor Show only a single model was exhibited as the business focused on its six-cylinder 3-litre Delage D6 which in most respects will have been familiar to anyone who had known the 3-litre Delages of the 1930s. The car was offered with bodies by firms such as Chapron, Letourner & Marchand and Guilloré. A variety of coupe and cabriolet bodied D6s were produced. In addition, both Guilloré and Chapron produced a large saloon/sedan body. The two were remarkably similar, both being six-light four-door cars with conservative 1930s style shapes. Something else the two had in common was unexpectedly narrow rear doors, enforced by the combination of a long body, a long rear overhang and a relatively short wheelbase provided by the D6 chassis. A longer wheelbase 1952 special version, bodied by Guilloré, was owned by National Assembly president Edouard Herriot.

Nevertheless, these were difficult times for luxury auto-makers in France and by now the company’s registered head office was the same as that for Delahaye: production statistics from the period group Delage and Delahaye together. Louis Delâge himself, who had lived in poverty and quasi-monastic isolation since bankruptcy in 1935 had enforced the transfer of his company to Delahaye, died in December 1947, and during the next few years any residual autonomy that the business had enjoyed disappeared. Increases in motoring taxes, most notably in 1948 and most savagely targeting cars with engines of above 2 litres, combined with the depressed economic conditions of post-war France to create a difficult market for luxury car manufacturers. In 1950 Delahaye produced 235 cars which will have included a significant number of Delages. In 1951 the combined production figure for the two brands slumped to 77: in 1952 it was down to 41. In 1953 Delage production ended.

Delage was absorbed into Hotchkiss along with Delahaye in 1954, and car manufacturing ended.


1920 Delage (type S) CO 4 ½ litre Salamanca (1918, 6 cyl, 4,524 cc)

1924 Delage Di(1920, 2,121 cc)

1920-delage-type-co2-22d181v-dual-cowl-tourer Delage CO2 (1921)

Delage 2 LCV (1923, 12 cyl, 2L)

Delage GL (5,954 cc)

Delage DE

Delage DH (12 cyl DH, 10,5L)

Delage DI S

Delage DI SS

Delage DMS (6 cyl, 3L)

Delage DML (6 cyl, 3L)

Scuderia Giddings black 1927
Delage. Beautiful 1500cc twin cam straight eight, blown alloy engine created almost 200 horse power.

Delage 15 S 8 (8 cyl, 1,500 cc)