|October 29, 2004
Over 15 Million Audi Models in 40 Years
AUDI AG has built more than 15 million Audi models over the past four decades. Some 10.5 million Audi models have been manufactured at the Audi plant in Ingolstadt since 1965, over 4 million at Audi in Neckarsulm since 1970 and around 500,000 at Audi's other production plants.
Within the colourful history of AUDI AG, the period from 1964 to 1966 is one of the most significant. It was during that period that ownership of Auto Union GmbH was gradually transferred from Daimler-Benz to Volkswagenwerk AG. The transaction changed not only the company's structure. Along with the shift from two-stroke DKW models to the company's first four-stroke model, the "Audi 72" from 1965, the name under which its cars were sold also changed: from now on, they were called simply "Audi".
The 44 vehicles arranged in the shape of the Audi logo on the piazza at the Audi Forum Ingolstadt (photo) represent 40 years in the company history of AUDI AG. Like circular time lines, they present the history of Audi: the white "Audi 72" represents the beginning. Only 15,768 of this model were built in 1965.
The 1970s could not have been in greater contrast: the Audi 100 and Audi 80 were the heroes of the decade. The Audi 50 which appeared in 1974 also made history. This was the first compact-class car to be built in Germany, and more than 180,000 units were built up until 1978. The 1980s witnessed a rapid acceleration in the pace of development: it all started with the Audi quattro, the first volume-production car with permanent four-wheel drive, which captured an array of motorsport honours.
Further new models arrived in the 1990s. The conquest of the luxury class began with the Audi A8. The attractive Audi A3 created a stir in the compact class and the Audi TT revolutionised the lifestyle segment with its Coupé and Roadster versions. Again in the 1990s, Audi paved the way for the new millennium with the innovative "Audi Space Frame (ASF)": the Audi A2, launched in 2000, highlighted Audi's expertise in the area of aluminium lightweight design.
Audi started the new millennium on a dynamic note, pointing the way forward with the Audi A4 Cabriolet, the allroad quattro, the Audi RS4 and the Audi RS6. Next month, the new Audi A4 will round off the impressive list of model launches in 2004, following on from the Audi A8, S4 Cabriolet, A6 and A3 Sportback.
From the modest feat of building 15,768 of the "Audi 72" back in 1965, the brand with the four-ring badge has thus gone on to build and sell over 15 million vehicles worldwide.