The car manufacturer Audi has a pretty interesting logo. This applies both to its visual appearance, four interlocking rings, but also to how its origin can be explained. The four rings were not simply chosen because they look so pleasant. There is a story behind it and this will be explained in the following sections.
The Audi company, based in Ingolstadt, has been part of the Volkswagen Group since the 1960s, concentrating on high-quality automobiles and is considered a “premium manufacturer”. Audi was founded in Zwickau as early as 1909, with a number of changes and mergers that have had a major impact on the Audi logo. The brand name “Audi” already has an interesting background, because it was the founder of the company “Horch”, named August Horch, who left the company in disagreement and then founded his own company. That was “Audi”, which is the Latin translation of the imperative “horch”, but which could also be translated as hear or hear.
You were pretty lucky that this word sounds a bit futuristic and at the same time has aged well. Even in the new millennium, the brand name “Audi” still has a pretty positive and, above all, fresh connotation, perhaps due to its many vowels. Which of course suits the products from this house pretty well, they too want to be considered innovative and exciting.
Four independent companies form the basis of Audi
With this separation, which would later end in a merger, the foundation for the answer to the question has already been laid: What does the Audi logo mean? Because in the eventful history of this automobile manufacturer it went on as follows:
In 1928, the Zschopauer Motorenwerke JS Rasmussen AG, which became known with the DKW brand, took over the Audi plants in Zwickau. In the same process, the Wanderer works in Schönau were incorporated into this company. This created a union of a total of four different vehicle manufacturers. However, these four different manufacturers remained independent in their production. Altogether, Auto-Union's production output at that time was the second largest in Germany in the field of motor vehicles. The name that the new construct thus created bore was Auto-Union and the logo that was conceived symbolized these four independent companies. And that in the form of four nested, horizontally aligned rings. The same Audi logo as you know it today, but in a slightly different version. A graphic element in the form of an emblem, containing the letters DKW, was enthroned on the rings, which was located in a green triangle pointing downwards.
After the Second World War, the production facilities, the four participants in the Auto Union, whose core production was entirely in Saxony, were dismantled by the Soviet occupiers and brought to the Soviet Union.
The smaller production plants that remained in the zones of the western occupation were in Munich, Nuremberg, Hanover and Freiburg. Only the central warehouse for spare parts was located in Ingolstadt. The new headquarters were made out of this without further ado, which has remained there in eastern Bavaria to this day. At that time, shortly after the company was founded, many former employees from Saxony came to Ingolstadt to help rebuild the company. Initially, the vehicles produced traded under the well-known DKW brand, which incidentally stands for “steam-powered vehicles”. In 1965 the first vehicle, the F103, was launched under the “Audi” brand. The Audi 1968, which is still known today, followed in 100.
In 1969 the Auto Union merged with the NSU, which was particularly well known from the pre-war period, which led to the new name Audi Audi NSU Auto Union. The first Audi was then produced again with the Audi logo of the four rings that we are talking about here.
Here is a clear overview of the four car manufacturers for which the four rings in the Audi logo stand:
This clarifies the correct answer to the question: What does the Audi logo mean?
Within the Auto Union, the distribution of the segments to the individual members was as follows.
DKW focused on small cars and motorcycles. Wanderer initially received the area of bicycles, later this area was responsible for mid-range automobiles. Horch built luxury vehicles of the upper classes and Audi was responsible for the vehicles of the upper middle class. Which also shows that Audi did not produce vehicles below the middle class and therefore has always been true as a producer of higher quality vehicles on the market. The self-perception is correspondingly. And as many people think, the elegant four rings have also found the right logo for this assessment and product range.
Volkswagen AG currently holds 99,64% of the shares in Audi AG. Audi is famous around the world for its slogan “Vorsprung durch Technik”, which was first used in 1971 and which is known in its German form in many countries and has even found its way into popular culture. The Audi logo, which adorns millions of vehicles, is likely to be even better known. For some time now, Audi AG has also owned the Lamborghini and Audi Sport brands, each of which has its own logo or has retained its old logo. The Lamborghini brand, in turn, includes the Ducati and Giugiaro brands, which are ultimately also owned by Audi and therefore largely owned by Volkswagen AG.