TRABANT

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Trabant

Trabant
Trabbi 601-S - Typenschild 1.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer VEB Sachsenring
Production
  • 1957–1990 (East Germany)
  • 1990–1991 (Germany)
  • 3.7 million produced
Body and chassis
Body style
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Powertrain
Engine
  • 500cc two-cylinder two-stroke (1957~62)
  • 600cc two-cylinder two-stroke (1963~1989)
  • 1.0L VW Polo I4 four-stroke (1989~1991)
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,020 mm (79.5 in)
Length 3,360 mm (132.3 in)
Width 1,500 mm (59.06 in)

Trabant 601 ad

The Trabant (/ˈtræbænt, –ənt/German: [tʁaˈbant]) is an automobile which was produced from 1957 to 1990 by former East German car manufacturer VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau. It is often seen as symbolic of the former East Germany and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in general. The Trabant was loud, slow, poorly designed, badly built, inhospitable to drive, uncomfortable, confusing and inconvenient. The Trabant had a hard plastic body mounted on a one-piece steel chassis (a so-called unibody or monocoque), front-wheel drive, a transverse engine, and independent suspension – unusual features at that time (1950s) — but it remained the same up until the 1990s. The 1980s model had no tachometer, no headlights or turn signals indicator, no fuel gauge, no rear seat belts, no external fuel door, drivers had to pour a mix of gasoline and oil directly under the hood, etc.

Called “a spark plug with a roof”, 3,096,999 Trabants in a number of models were produced over nearly three decades with few significant changes in their basic design. Older models have been sought by collectors in the United States due to their low cost and fewer restrictions on the importation of antique cars. The Trabant also gained a following among car tuning and rally racing enthusiasts.

Overview

Trabant 601 Mulhouse FRA 001Trabant 601 limousine

Trabant 601 EstateTrabant 601 Estate

Trabant means “satellite” or “companion” in German, derived from the Middle High German drabant (“Hussite foot soldier”). The car’s name was inspired by the Soviet Sputnik satellite. The cars are often referred to as “Trabbi” or “Trabi”. Produced without major changes for nearly 30 years, the Trabant became the most common automobile in East Germany. It came to symbolize the country during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, as images of East Germans crossing the border into West Germany were broadcast around the globe.

Being a state monopoly, it took ten years to acquire a Trabant, East German buyers were placed on a waiting-list of up to thirteen years. The waiting time depended on their proximity to Berlin, the capital. Official state price was 7,450 GDR marks and the demand to production ratio was forty three to one (1989). The free market price for a second-hand one was more than twice the price of a new one, and the average worker had to wait ten to thirteen years on a waiting list, or, if available, pay more than double for a second hand one.

Trabant 2 interieurInterior of a 601

The Trabant had a steel unibody frame, with the roof, trunk lid, hood, fenders and doors made of duroplast, a hard plastic made from recycled cotton waste from the Soviet Union and phenol resins from the East German dye industry. It was the second car with a body made of recycled material; the first was the AWZ P70 Zwickau, produced from 1955 to 1959. The material was durable, and the average lifespan of a Trabant was 28 years.

Trabant quality was poor, reliability was terrible, closer inspection revealed “patchy assembly quality”, with atrocious maintenance record.

The car had four principal variants:

The P50, also known as the Trabant 500 (produced 1957–1962)

The Trabant 600 (1962–1964)

The Trabant 601 (1963–1991)

The Trabant 1.1, produced in 1990–1991 with a 1,043 cc (63.6 cu in) VW engine

Trabant Engine BlockTrabant two-stroke engine

The engine for the 500, 600 and the original 601 was a small two-stroke engine with two cylinders, accounting for the vehicle’s modest performance. Its curb weight was about 600 kg (1,323 lb). When it ceased production in 1989, the Trabant delivered 19 kilowatts (25 hp) from a 600 cc (37 cu indisplacement. It took 21 seconds to accelerate from zero to its top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph).

The engine produced a very smoky exhaust and was a significant source of air pollution: nine times the hydrocarbons and five times the carbon-monoxide emissions of the average 2007 European car. Its fuel consumption was 7 l/100 km (40 mpg‑imp; 34 mpg‑US). Since the engine did not have an oil pumptwo-stroke oil had to be added to the 24-liter (6.3 U.S. gal; 5.3 imp gal) fuel tank at a 50:1 (or 33:1) ratio of fuel to oil at each fill-up. Contemporary gas stations in countries where two-stroke engines were common sold a premixed gas-oil mixture at the pump. Because the Trabant had no fuel pump, its fuel tank was above the motor so fuel could reach the carburetor by gravity; this increased the risk of fire in front-end accidents. Earlier models had no fuel gauge, and a dipstick was inserted into the tank to determine how much fuel remained.

Best known for its dull color scheme and cramped, uncomfortable ride, the Trabant is an object of ridicule for many Germans and is regarded as symbolic of the fall of the Eastern Bloc. Known as a “spark plug with a roof” because of its small size, the car did gain public affection. Its design remained essentially unchanged from its introduction in the late 1950s, and the last model was introduced in 1964. In contrast, the West German Volkswagen Beetle received a number of updates (including improvements in efficiency) over a similar period.

History

Origins

The Trabant was the result of a planning process which had intended to design a three-wheeled motorcycle. In German, a trabant is an astronomical term for a moon (or other natural satellite) of a celestial body.

Full production

1959 Trabant P50

A 1959 Trabant P50

The first of the Trabants left the VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau factory in Saxony on 7 November 1957. It was a relatively advanced car when it was formally introduced the following year, with front wheel driveunitary construction and independent suspension. The Trabant’s greatest shortcoming was its engine. By the late 1950s, many small West European cars (such as the Renault) had cleaner, more-efficient four-stroke engines, but budgetary constraints and raw-materials shortages mandated an outdated (but inexpensive) two-stroke engine in the Trabant. It was technically equivalent to the West German Lloyd automobile, a similarly sized car with an air-cooled, two-cylinder four-stroke engine. The Trabant had a front, transversely-mounted engine and front-wheel drive in an era when many European cars were using rear-mounted engines or front-mounted engines with rear-wheel drive. Its greatest drawback was its largely unchanged production; the car’s two-stroke engine made it obsolete by the 1970s, limiting exports to Western Europe.

The Trabant’s air-cooled, 500 cc (31 cu in) engine—upgraded to 600 cc (37 cu in) in 1962–63—was derived from a pre-war DKW design with minor alterations during its production run. The first Saab car had a larger (764 cc), water-cooled, two-cylinder two-stroke engine. Wartburg, an East German manufacturer of larger sedans, also used a water-cooled, three-cylinder, 1,000 cc (61 cu in), two-stroke DKW engine.

The original Trabant, introduced in 1958, was the P50. Trabant’s base model, it shared a large number of interchangeable parts with the latest 1.1s. The 500 cc, 18 hp (13 kW) P50 evolved into a 20 hp (15 kW) version with a fully synchronized gearbox in 1960, and received a 23 hp (17 kW), 500 cc (31 cu in) engine in 1962 as the P60.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B0503-0015-001, Sachsenring Trabant 601A 1963 Trabant 601

The updated P601 was introduced in 1964. It was essentially a facelift of the P60, with a different front fascia, bonnet, roof and rear and the original P50 underpinnings. The model remained nearly unchanged until the end of its production except for the addition of 12V electricity, rear coil springs and an updated dashboard for later models.

Trabant P1100 prototypeP1100 prototype

The Trabant’s designers expected production to extend until 1967 at the latest, and East German designers and engineers created a series of more-sophisticated prototypes intended to replace the P601; several are displayed at the Dresden Transport Museum. Each proposal for a new model was rejected by the East German government due to shortages of the raw materials required in larger quantities for the more-advanced designs. As a result, the Trabant remained largely unchanged for more than a quarter-century. Also unchanged was its production method, which was extremely labour-intensive.

Production started from 34.000 in 1964, reached 100.000 in 1973, to a high of 150.000 in 1989.

The Trabant 1100 (also known as the P1100) was a 601 with a better-performing 1.05-liter (64 cu in), 45 hp (34 kW) VW Polo engine. With a more-modern look (including a floor-mounted gearshift), it was quieter and cleaner than its predecessor. The 1100 had front disc brakes, and its wheel assembly was borrowed from Volkswagen. It was produced between from 1989 to 1991, in parallel with the two-stroke P601. Except for the engine and transmission, many parts from older P50s, P60s and 601s were compatible with the 1100.

1989–1991

Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F086568-0046, Leipzig, ausgeschlachteter PKW Trabant (Trabbi)Many Trabants like this one, photographed in Leipzig in 1990, were abandoned after 1989.

Trabant 1.1 Limousine with VW Polo four-stroke engineTrabant 1.1 with VW Polo four-stroke engine

In mid-1989, thousands of East Germans began loading their Trabants with as much as they could carry and drove to Hungary or Czechoslovakia en route to West Germany on the “Trabi Trail”. Many had to get special permission to drive their Trabants into West Germany, since the cars did not meet West German emissions standards and polluted the air at four times the European average.

A licensed version of the Volkswagen Polo engine replaced the Trabant’s two-stroke engine in 1989, the result of a trade agreement between East and West Germany. The model, the Trabant 1.1, also had minor improvements to its brake and signal lights, a renovated grille, and MacPherson struts instead of a leaf-spring-suspended chassis. When the 1.1 began production in May 1990, the two German states had already agreed to reunification.

By April 1991 3.7 million vehicles had been produced. However, it soon became apparent that there was no place for the Trabant in a reunified German economy; its inefficient, labour-intensive production line survived on government subsidies.

The Trabant ceased production in 1991, and the Zwickau factory in Mosel (where the Trabant 1.1 was manufactured) was sold to Volkswagen AG; the rest of the company became HQM Sachsenring GmbH. Volkswagen redeveloped the Zwickau factory, which is a centre for engine production and produces some Volkswagen Golfs and Passats.

1990s and later

According to Richard Leiby, the Trabant had become “a symbol of the technological and social backwardness of the East German state.” Trabants became well known in the West after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when many were abandoned by their Eastern owners who migrated west. Unlike the Lada NivaŠkoda EstellePolski Fiat and Yugo, the Trabant had negligible sales in Western Europe.

A Trabant could be bought for as little as a few Deutsche Marks during the early 1990s, and many were given away. Although prices recovered as they became collectors’ items, they remain inexpensive cars. In her Bodyworkproject, performance artist Liz Cohen transformed a 1987 Trabant into a 1973 Chevrolet El Camino. The Trabant was planned to return to production in Uzbekistan as the Olimp during the late 1990s, but only one model was produced.

2007 Trabant P50 or 60 during the First Trabant Rally 22-12-2007

A Trabant during the first Parade of Trabants in 2007

Former Bulgarian Foreign Minister and Atlantic Club of Bulgaria founding president Solomon Passy owned a Trabant which was blessed by Pope John Paul II in 2002 and which he took NATO Secretaries General Manfred WörnerGeorge Robertson, and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer for rides. In 2005, Passy donated the vehicle (which had become symbolic of Bulgaria’s NATO accession) to the National Historical Museum of Bulgaria. In 1997 the Trabant was celebrated for passing the moose test without rolling over, as the Mercedes-Benz W168 had; a Thuringian newspaper’s headline read, “Come and get us, moose! Trabi passes A-Class killer test”.

The Trabant entered the world of diplomacy in 2007 when Steven Fisherdeputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Budapest, used a 1.1 (painted as close to British racing green as possible) as his diplomatic carAmerican Trabant owners celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall with the Parade of Trabants, an annual early-November rally held in Washington, D.C. The event, sponsored by the privately owned International Spy Museum, includes street tours in Trabants, rides, live German music and displays about East Germany.

Planned reintroduction

The Herpa company, a Bavarian miniature-vehicle manufacturer, bought the rights to the Trabant name and showed a scale model of a “newTrabi” at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. Plans for production included a limited run, possibly with a BMW engine. A Trabant nT model was unveiled two years later in Frankfurt.

The Trabant nT consortium includes Herpa, the German specialized-auto-parts manufacturer IndiKar and the German automobile-engineering company IAV. The group was looking for investment, design and production in the Trabant’s original hometown of Zwickau, with sales “in 2012”. The Trabant nT electric car would be equipped with a 45 kW (60 hp; 61 PS) asynchronous motor powered by a lithium-ion battery.

Models

Fotothek df ps 0002918 Stadt ^ Stadtlandschaften ^ Camping

Trabant P50 Universal, later known as the 500 Universal

 

P50: Later known as the 500 (Limousine and Universal [Combi])

600 (Limousine and Universal)

601 Standard (Limousine, Universal)

601S (Sonderwunsch; Special Edition) with fog lamps, a rear white light and an odometer

601 DeLuxe: Similar to the 601S, with two colours and a chrome bumper

601 Kübel: Doorless jeep with a folding roof, auxiliary heating system and RFI-shielded ignition

601 Tramp: Civilian version of the Kübel, primarily exported to Greece

601 Hycomat: For drivers unable to use their left leg, with an automatic clutch

800RS: Rally version

1.1: Limousine, Universal and Tramp (convertible)

Gallery

See also

August Horch Museum Zwickau

Jokes about the Trabant

Ostalgie

Soybean Car

Notes

Jump up^ According to Elof Hellquist‘s Svensk etymologisk ordbok (Swedish Etymological DictionaryISBN 91-40-01978-0), the word also exists in Low German dravant, French trabant and Italian trabante but its origin is unknown: “It is not even certain whether the Romance words have been borrowed from the German, or vice versa.”

References

Jump up to:a b Legends of the Open Road. Rizzoli International Publications. ISBN 978-88-6130-066-8.

Jump up^ World Cars 1978. Herald Books. ISBN 0-910714-10-X.

Jump up to:a b “The Trabant Was an Awful Car Made by Communists”. November 2016.

Jump up^ “Trabant Canada”. Trabant.ca. Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

Jump up^ “99 (Svensk etymologisk ordbok)”runeberg.org (in Swedish). 1922. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2017. (in Swedish)

Jump up to:a b c d James, Kyle (19 May 2007). “Go, Trabi, Go! East Germany’s Darling Car Turns 50”. Deutsche Welle. Archivedfrom the original on 11 September 2007.

Jump up^ Stokes, Raymond G. (2000). “Plastics and the New Society: The German Democratic Republic in the 1950s and 1960s”. In Reid, Susan E.; Crowley, David. Style and Socialism: Modernity and Material Culture in Post-War Eastern Europe. Oxford, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Berg. ISBN 1-85973-239-9OCLC 898724665.

Jump up to:a b c Williams, Adam (6 September 2007). “The ‘Trabi’ automobile, once a symbol of East Germany, to be revived”International Herald Tribune. Reuters. Archived from the originalon 4 December 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2011.

Jump up to:a b c “German Firm Plans to Launch Revamped Trabant”. Deutsche Welle. 7 September 2007. Archived from the original on 24 February 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

Jump up to:a b “The 12 worst cars ever built”. January 2010.

Jump up to:a b c d “The Trabant: Consumption, Eigen-Sinn, and Movement”History Workshop Journal. 18 September 2009.

Jump up to:a b “Special From Germany: Show 402”Scientific American Frontiers. PBS. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015.

Jump up^ Cotta, Rick. “Driving a Trabant”.

Jump up^ “BBC”. bbc.co.uk. 1 January 2007. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.

Jump up^ “carfolio.com”. carfolio.com. 28 February 2013. Archivedfrom the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.

Jump up^ “Trans National Trabant Tour 2007”. Transtrabant.cz. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

Jump up^ Silk, Bernard (3 May 2003). “Daily Telegraph”. London: Telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 23 October 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

Jump up^ Hockenos, Paul (7 November 2014). “Berlin Welcomes Back the Trabant, if Only for a Day”The New York TimesArchivedfrom the original on 7 November 2017.

Jump up^ Richard Stroup (2003). Eco-nomics: What Everyone Should Know about Economics and the Environment. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-930865-44-0.

Jump up^ “Translate Trabant from German to English”http://www.interglot.comArchived from the original on 7 October 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.

Jump up^ Sebetsyen, Victor (2009). Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. New York City: Pantheon BooksISBN 0-375-42532-2.

Jump up^ “Trabant”. Archived from the original on 14 April 2011.

Jump up^ Richard A. Leiby (1999). The Unification of Germany, 1989–1990. Greenwood. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-313-29969-8.

Jump up^ Keats, Jonathon (July 2003). “High-Performance Artist”WiredArchived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.

Jump up^ “Trabant Clunks Back to Life”. Moscowtimes.ru. Archived from the original on 11 February 2008. Retrieved 2 December2010.

Jump up^ “Automobile Industry In Uzbekistan”Archived from the original on 3 July 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

Jump up^ “Соломон Паси подари трабанта си на НИМ” (in Bulgarian). Вести. 13 July 2005. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2009.

Jump up^ “Petite feat”. drive.com.au. 6 May 2005. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

Jump up^ “British Deputy Ambassador’s ride small and green”. Politics.Hu. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2009.

Jump up^ Zsolt, Csikós (10 November 2008). “A brit nagykövethelyettes Trabantja (“The British Deputy Ambassador’s Trabant”)”. TotalCar.hu Ltd. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2012.

Jump up^ “Sixth Annual Parade of Trabants”International Spy MuseumArchived from the original on 28 December 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2012.

Jump up^ Williams, Adam (6 September 2007). “The ‘Trabi’ automobile, once a symbol of East Germany, to be revived”The New York TimesArchived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2012.

Jump up^ “Photo Gallery: Electric Trabant Unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show”. Spiegel Online. 16 September 2009. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2012.

Jump up^ “German group develops new Trabant”. London: news.bbc.co.uk. 14 August 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.

Jump up^ Hall, Allan (14 August 2009). “Smoke-belching Trabant to be reborn as electric car”. London: telegraph.co.uk. Archivedfrom the original on 17 August 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.

Jump up^ “The “newTrabi” idea becomes the “Trabant nT” concept car”. Trabant nT GmbH. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.

Jump up^ “Eco Cars: All-electric Trabant NT Gears To Clean 20-year-old Mess”. Ecofriend. 17 September 2009. Archived from the original on 23 September 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2009.

Further reading

Berdahl, Daphne. “‘Go, Trabi, Go!’: Reflections on a Car and Its Symbolization over Time.” Anthropology and Humanism 25.2 (2000): 131-141. online

Rubin, Eli. “The Trabant: Consumption, Eigen-Sinn, and Movement.” History Workshop Journal (2009) 68#1 pp 27–44. online

Zatlin, Jonathan R. “The vehicle of desire: The Trabant, the Wartburg, and the end of the GDR.” German History 15.3 (1997): 358-380. online

Lisse, Jürgen (2010), Fahrzeuglexikon Trabant (in German) (2. erweiterte ed.), Witzschdorf: Bildverlag Böttger, ISBN 978-3-937496-34-4

Röcke, Matthias (2011), Die Trabi-Story. Der Dauerbrenner aus Zwickau (in German), Bath: Parragon, ISBN 978-1-4454-6266-0, vormals in zwei Auflagen erschienen im Heel Verlag

Stiegler, Theo (2007), Der Trabant wird 50! In guten wie in schlechten Zeiten (in German), Dresden: edition Sächsische Zeitung/Saxo’Phon, ISBN 978-3-938325-36-0

Sarotte, Mary Elise (2014). The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall. New York: Basic Books. p. 291. ISBN 978-0-465-06494-6.

External links

Trabant

Trabant vehicles

UK-based official Wartburg, Trabant and IFA owners’ club

Trabant at Curlie

TrabantForums TrabantForums.com

History of the Trabant

The story behind Trabant

Sachsenring Trabant site

IFA Mobile 2-takt Vereniging, de oudste vereniging voor Oost-Duitse auto’s

Trabant history and prospects

Technical Data and additional Information about Trabant 601.

Technical details and pictures of the Trabant 601

British microcar club that welcomes trabant owners and drivers

Trabant – East Germany’s Finest

Media

Interactive presentation of Red Pearl Trabant 601z

Trabant TV ad at Google Videos

Trabant test drive at Google Videos

Production of the Trabant car (Final Quality Testing) on YouTube

Cars GLAS

Glas (company)

1955 Glas Goggomobil 250 Limousine

Glas Goggomobil 250

Hans Glas GmbH is a former German automotive company, which was based in Dingolfing. Originally a maker of farm machinery, Glas evolved first into a producer of motor scooters, then automobiles. It was purchased by BMW in 1966, mainly to gain access to Glas’s patents; they were the first to use a timing belt with an overhead camshaft in an automotive application. Its limited model range was shortly phased out by its new parent.

History

1965 Glas 1700GT

Glas 1700 GT Cabriolet, 1965

Mechanic Andreas Glas founded a repair company for agricultural machines at 1895 in Pilsting. He named the company Andreas Glas, Reparaturwerkstätte für landwirtschaftliche Maschinen mit Dampfbetrieb (in English: Andreas Glas, repair-shop for steam-powered agricultural machines). During the summer periods about 16 people worked for him. In 1905 Andreas Glas’ company built their first crop sowing machines (seed drill). He then had sufficient work to employ all his employees during the winters. The production of sowing machines rose from year to year:

Winter period 1905/06 – 10 sowing machines
Autumn 1906 – 20 pieces
Winter period 1906/07 – 40 machines
1907 – 60 pieces
Winter period 1907/08 – 254 sowing machines.

Since 1905 Glas had a branch office in Dingolfing. He started to produce in Dingolfing in 1908 with 150 sowing machines per year. The production count rose each year.

After World War II, the market for sowing machines was declining, and the company began building little carrows and later working machines for bakers along with sowing machines.

Products

1958 Goggomobil Coupé Spain

Goggomobil TS 250 Coupe.

Glas were known for small cars like the Goggomobil. However, in 1964 the company introduced the Glas 1300GT coupe and later the 1700GT. The body was designed by Pietro Frua. However competition, mostly from British cars, was tough and in 1966 they released the 2600GT powered by a SOHC V8 engine, with a volume just under 2.6 litres. However this didn’t help and later the same year the company was sold to BMW. The Glas models were kept in production by BMW, but fitted with BMW engines. The Glas 1300 GT coupe was fitted with a 1.6-litre BMW engine and renamed BMW 1600 GT. BMW also fitted a 3-litre engine and named it 3000 GT. This model kept the Glas name, but had a BMW logo in the front and rear. In 1968 BMW created their own large coupe, the BMW 2500 CS, and this meant the end for Glas. 277 copies of 2600 GT was made and 389 of the 3000 GT.

Scooters

Goggo

Glas Goggo scooter with sidecar

In 1951 Andreas Glas saw the Vespa scooter from Piaggio in Verona, Italy. He was so enthused that he began production of motor scooters that July.

The scooter debuted with a 125 cc motor, increased over time to 150 cc and 200 cc. Until 1956 46,181 motor scooters were built. Production of scooters stopped because of the Goggomobil cars. From 1953 on, load-carrying scooters were built as well. With the 200 cc engine and 9.5 bhp, they had a load capacity of 200 kg.

Cars

Glas-v8-2

A 1966 Glas 2600 with Glas logo, nicknamed Glaserati

1968bmwglas3000

A 1968 BMW Glas 3000GT. Notice the BMW logo in the front, but that it otherwise doesn’t look like a BMW.
1958 Goggomobil Transporter van
1958 Goggomobil Transporter van
  • Goggomobil T250, T300, T400, Sedan (1955-1969), Coupé (1957-1969), Transporter (1957-1965)

1957 goggomobil isar

1957 goggomobil isar

1958 goggomobil isar

1963 glas 1004s coupe

Glas 1004

  • Glas 1204
  • Glas 1300 GT all models
  • Glas 2600

Absorption by BMW

In 1962 BMW released the BMW 1500. The popular four-door compact’s success exhausted the production capacity of the Munich plant. In 1966 management decided to buy Glas and absorb the Glas model line. Most of Glas’ existing lineup was retired, while some models ended up being badged as BMWs until the company was fully absorbed. It was reputed that the acquisition was mainly to gain access to Glas’ development of the timing belt with an overhead camshaft in automotive applications, although some saw Glas’ Dingolfing plant as another incentive. However, this factory was outmoded and BMW’s biggest immediate gain was, according to themselves, a stock of highly qualified engineers and other personnel. The Glas factory began the manufacture of BMW front and rear axles until they could be modernized and fully incorporated into BMW.

BMW immediately retired most of the Glas range, including all of the outdated microcars.

Changes under BMW

  • The 04-type, the GT and the 1700 sedan were given BMW badges in the last year of their production.
  • The GT was reengineered and so it was built with a BMW engine and rear axle and sold as BMW 1600 GT until 1968.
  • The V8 got a bigger engine constructed by Glas and was also sold until 1968 as BMW-GLAS 3000 V8.
  • The 1700 sedan was built and sold by a South African importer with several changes as BMW 1800 SA until 1974.
  • The Goggomobil T300, T400, T400 Coupé (renamed Sport), Glas Isar T700 and the Glas 1204 were licensed for manufacture in Argentina during the 1960s.

Salesfigueres

Goggo mobile
1955            10126
1956            33385
1957            43372
1958            36717
Isar
1958            6741
1959          22561
Isar
1959          24717
1960         19506
1960         17854
1961         20285
1961         15001
1962         18267
1962         11888
Glas 1004
1962            2286
1963          15945
1963             5778
1963            7394
1964          14950
1964            4634
1964             7347
Glas 1300
1964          1140
Glas1700
1964            952
1965        11610
1965            972
1965          8533
1965          1865
1965           1792
1966         12490
1966           8991
Glas1700
1966           5145
Glas2600
1966             219
1967           8961
1967           6944
1967           1563
1967             373
1968           6906
1968             368
1968              494
1968                74
Goggomobile
1969            3141
Goggo mobile 1955 10126
1956 33385
1957 43372
1958 36717
Isar 1958 6741
1959 22561
Isar 1959 24717
1960 19506
1960 17854
1961 20285
1961 15001
1962 18267
1962 11888
Glas1004 1962 2286
1963 15945
1963 5778
1963 7394
1964 14950
1964 4634
1964 7347
Glas 1300 1964 1140
Glas1700 1964 952
1965 11610
1965 972
1965 8533
1965 1865
1965 1792
1966 12490
1966 8991
Glas1700 1966 5145
Glas2600 1966 219
1967 8961
1967 6944
1967 1563
1967 373
1968 6906
1968 368
1968 494
1968 74
Gogomobile 1969 3141

Closure

In the late 1960s BMW shut down Glas and built entirely new production facilities, which would eventually become an important production site. As of 2008, BMW’s Dingolfing branch is BMW’s largest factory, with 22,000 workers producing 5-6- and 7-Series cars and as well as bodies for Rolls-Royce.

1955 Glas Goggomobil 250 Limousine1955 GLAS Goggomobil1955 goggomobil podwozie1955 goggomobil tyl1955 goggomobil1956 goggomobil coupe1956 goggomobil1957 goggomobil coupe genewa1957 goggomobil isar1957 goggomobil t 3001958 Glas Goggomobil Dart 21958 Glas Goggomobil Dart1958 Glas Goggomobil Dart-black 21958 Glas Goggomobil Dart-black1958 Glas Goggomobil T-250 Sedan sunroof (D)1958 Glas Goggomobil Transporter (D)1958 Glas Goggomobil Transporter 3x (D)1958 Glas Goggomobol Dart1958 Goggomobil Coupé back-side1958 Goggomobil Coupé Spain1958 goggomobil coupe1958 goggomobil isar1958 Goggomobil T250 with wind-up windows1958 goggomobil t300 sedan1958 Goggomobil Transporter van1958 Goggomobile-TS1959 Glas Goggomobil Transporter Pick-Up (D)1959 Glas Goggomobil Transporter Pick-Up binnenkant (D)1959 Glas Isar T600 Kombi (Germany) 0,6 ltr, 19hp, 720kg, 98km-p-u1959 goggomobil 184a (2)1959 goggomobil 184a (3)1959 goggomobil 184a (4)1959 Goggomobil Buckle Dart1959 goggomobil coupe1959 Goggomobil Dart - roadster body by Buckle MotorsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1959 goggomobil isar1959 goggomobil sedan1959 Goggomobil-Transporter-LT a1960 Glas (Isard) T-700 Royal1960 Glas Goggomobil T-300 w sunroof + aanhanger (D)1960 Glas ISARD (D)1960 Glas ISARD 2 (D)1960 Glas ISARD achterkant (D)1960 glas royal1960 goggomobil coupe1960 Goggomobil en gemotoriseerde hond. Zo noemden ze die melkboer wagentjes bij ons in mijn jeugd1960 goggomobil t7001960 goggomobil tyl1960 Goggomobil-Transporter-LT1961 Glas 1200 11961 Glas 1200 2jpg1961 Glas 1200 31961 goggomobil goggoIsar 1861961 goggomobil 7001961 goggomobil coupe1961 goggomobil goggoIsar1881891961 goggomobil sedan1962 glas isar 1004 coupe1962 Glas S1004 coupé1962 goggomobil isard k 7001962 goggomobil isard t7001963 glas 1004s cabrio1963 glas 1004s coupe1963 glas 1204 dashboard 081963 glas 1204 kabrio1963 glas 1204 sedan1963 glas 1300GT 04051963 glas 1300gt cabrio1963 glas 1300gt dash1963 Glas Goggomobil Transporter (D)1963 Glas Goggomobil Transporter achtekant (D)1963 glas isar t6001964 glas 1004s coupe1964 Glas 1204 Cabrio red1964 Glas 1204 Cabrio1964 glas 12041964 glas 1300GT 10111964 Glas 1700 06071964 Glas 1700 dashboard 08091964 glas 17001964 Glas Goggomobil Coupe (D)1964 Glas Goggomobil Coupe achterkant (D)1964 glas s 1004 cabrio1964 goggomobil coupe1965 glas 1004 coupe1965 glas 1204 011965 glas 1300 gt coupe1965 glas 17001965 Glas 1700GT1965 glas 2600 frankfurt1965 Glas Goggomobil 17001965 Glas Goggomobil Cabriolet (D)1965 Glas Goggomobil Cabriolet open (D)1965 goggomobil glas gogo 651966 BMW-Glas 3000 V8 detail1966 Glas 1700 Convertible1966 glas 1700 gt cabrio1966 Glas 1700 GT1966 glas 17001966 glas 2600 v81966 glas cl 11966 Glas CL1966 Glas Goggomobil 1300 GT1966 goggomobil coupe1966 goggomobil sedan1967 BMW 1600 GT Coupé The year that is was not a Glas anymore but a BMW1967 glas 1304 cl kombi1967 Glas 1304-011967 Glas 1304-091967 Glas 1304-101967 Glas 1700 Dutch licence registration AL-90-04 pic21967 glas 1700gt1967 Glas 2600 V8 - coupe body by Frua1967 glas 2600 v81967 goggomobil t 2501967 goggomobil ts2501967-68 glas 3000 v8 BMW1968 bmw glas 30001968 glas 1700 sedan1968 glas bmw1968 Goggomobil Ad1968bmwglas30001969 goggomobil t 2501973 MHV BMW1973 01BMW-Glas 3000 V8Glas 1004 CL (Kombi-limousine)Glas 1004 sedanGlas 1700GTGlas 2600 V8 au HelderGlas 2600 V8-hintenGlas Isar station wagon FinlandGlas IsarGlas x 3Glas-v8-2GoggoGoggomobile dart birdwoodGoggomobile, Spain

References

  1. Jump up to:a b Torrey, Volta, ed. (April 1953). “Scooter to Tote Farm Loads”Popular Science. Vol. 162 no. 4. New York, NY USA. p. 100. ISSN 0161-7370. Retrieved 2012-05-19This three-wheel cargo scooter, powered by a two-cycle engine, can chug along hauling as much as 440 pounds of goods in the little van at the rear.
  2. Jump up^ “BMW take over Glas”. Autocar. Vol. 125 nbr 3689. 28 October 1966. p. 955.
  3. Jump up^ Toronto Star 3 July 2004
  4. Jump up^ Becker, Clauspeter (1971), Logoz, Arthur, ed., “BMW 2500/2800”, Auto-Universum 1971 (in German), Zürich, Switzerland: Verlag Internationale Automobil-Parade AG, XIV: 73
  5. Jump up^ Becker, p. 74
  6. Jump up^ www.auto-historia.com.ar Isard Argentina S.A. (Spanish) – accessed 4 December 2008

External links

 

Audi

Audi AG
Aktiengesellschaft
Traded as FWBNSU
Industry Automotive
Predecessor Auto Union GmbH
NSU Motorenwerke AG
Founded Historic
Zwickau, Germany
(25 April 1910; 108 years ago)
Modern-era
Neckarsulm, Germany
(1 January 1969; 49 years ago)
Founder August Horch
Headquarters IngolstadtGermany
Number of locations
11 production facilities in 9 countries
Area served
Worldwide
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)
Divisions
Subsidiaries
Website audi.com
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.

History

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.

Technology

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.

Bodyshells

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.

Drivetrains

Layout

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.

Engines

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
Estate/Wagon)

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.

Motorsport

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.

Rallying

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.

Results

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.

Results

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
2
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
4
2010 Germany Audi R15 United States Audi Sport North America 1
3
2012 Germany Audi R18 Germany Audi Sport Team Joest 16
1
2
2013 Germany Audi R18 Germany Audi Sport Team Joest 1
2

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.

Results

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
12

World Endurance Championship

2012

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.

2013

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.

2014

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.

Results

Year Manufacturer Chassis SEB
United States
SPA
Belgium
LMS
France
SIL
United Kingdom
SÃO
Brazil
BHR
Bahrain
FUJ
Japan
SHA
China
Total
points
Pos.
2012 Germany Audi R18 e-tron quattro 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 2 173 (209) 1st
Year Manufacturer Chassis SIL
United Kingdom
SPA
Belgium
LMS
France
SÃO
Brazil
COA
United States
FUJ
Japan
SHA
China
BHR
Bahrain
Total
points
Pos.
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
SPA
Belgium
LMS
France
COA
United States
FUJ
Japan
SHA
China
BHR
Bahrain
SÃU
Brazil
Total
points
Pos.
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
China
MAL