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In 1899 a gentleman named August Hoch founded a company called Horch & Co. In 1901 he invented his first vehicle with the help of 15 workers. By 1909 August left this company because of major problems on the commercial management side of things. Mr Hoch then founded a new company called Audi; the name was derived from the Latin translation of the word Hoch. August chose this name because he wanted to build cars under his own name. In 1910 the brand Audi Automobile were GmbH. Production of vehicles by Audi continued until the First World War.
During the war Audi was forced to help produce vehicles for the war effort, and then following the war there was a recession which almost saw the end of the brand itself. Horch left the management in 1920, leaving the management of the firm to battle through the hard times from 1927 through 1930. In 1931 the management decided that the only way to keep the company afloat would be to merge with other vehicle manufacturers. This saw the creation of what was called the Auto Union. This union between manufacturers had great success until the Second World War. During the war every factory in Germany was destroyed by American bombers. After the war, there were many military vehicles that required spare parts and maintenance; this was the main reason for the manufacturers to have a new start in Ingolstadt, Germany.
Daimler-Benz took an 87% holding into the Auto Union Company in 1958 which increased to 100% in 1959. They then decided to dispose of the Auto Union Company brand based on its lack of profitability in 1960. Coincidentally the closing of this company allowed the brand name of Audi to be rediscovered by opening the newly closed factory which had already drawn up a near production ready modern four stroke engine.
Volkswagen acquired a 50% holding in the new Audi firm in 1964, 18 months later it bought the rest of the controlling stock and by 1966 Volkswagen was using the Audi plant to assemble an extra sixty thousand beetles per year. By 1970 Volkswagen introduced the Audi brand in the US. At this time the Audi image was conservative. With models like the Audi 50, Audi 100 and the Audi 80. The 1986 Audi 80 was considered to have an image of someone's grandfather's vehicle. Then in 1987 Audi produced a new and elegant for its time, Audi 90. The Audi 90 had a set of standard features that surpassed anything Audi had released previously.
During the early 1990's Audi began to shift its selling demographic and target a younger consumer base. Body styles were reworked to be more aerodynamic and pleasing to the eye while new engines were developed to offer more performance on the road coupled with suspension modifications which made the vehicle more responsive and fun to drive.
From 2000 onwards Audi's sales have continued to grow. Audi now has six different manufacturing plants around the world in order to keep up with the demand for its vehicles. For a company that basically disappeared in its early years it has to be noted as one of the most successful recoveries of a brand in the history of the automotive business.