To find out when this automotive giant first came on the scene, you have to go all the way back to 1889 when August Horch — a former production manager for Karl Benz — decided he wanted to make cars with is own name.
In 1899 he joined up with 15 others and started a company in Germany that produced its first vehicle in 1901. But it wasn’t a smooth ride at all. In 1909, the Board of Directors forced Horch out of the company that he had been first and foremost in creating.
Not deterred, he set up another business. Given that the name Horch was already in use, he chose Audi – Latin for ‘Hear’ or ‘Listen.’
Audi as we now know it launched their first car in 1910 — the Audi Type A Sport-Phaeton, with only 140 ever produced. It was a success, particularly in sporting events, and the Type B was also launched that year. Horch began entering his vehicles in races and won the prestigious International Austrian Alpine Run three years in a row.
The company quickly became a favorite of German drivers, but the First World War required the company to manufacture vehicles used in many military campaigns. When the war was over, the company incurred heavy losses and struggled to remain profitable, much less at the level they were performing before the war.