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Audi at 100: German carmaker celebrates a century of technology, speed and luxury

Thu, 16 Jul 2009

Audi traces its roots to the dawn of the auto industry, and today, the iconic company known by four intertwined rings celebrates its 100th anniversary.

From humble beginnings to its lofty status as an international powerhouse, Audi has been at the forefront of technological development and crafting luxury. Along the way, it's gone by different names--including Auto Union AG--survived two world wars and forged entry into crucial new markets such as the United States.

And industrial growth never compromised its racing credentials. Audi has placed on the podium 11 times in 11 starts at Le Mans, and its diesel-powered prototypes have been consistent winners in the American Le Mans Series.

August Horch founded the forerunner of Audi on July 16, 1909, in Germany. The company originally was named for himself, but owners of a previous company he started--still using his name--forced him to switch. He devised a new moniker from the Latin translation of his last name, creating Audi.

Now the company is known for its powerful luxury rides, many of which employ cutting-edge diesel technology and quattro all-wheel drive. Its diminutive TT roadster and potent R8 supercar have captured the hearts of enthusiasts, while sedans such as the A8 offer premium buyers an alternative in a sometimes sedate segment.

An Auto Union Type D race car is shown.

Tonight, the company marks its centennial with a celebration in Ingolstadt, Germany, that will include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, racing legends Jacky Ickx and Walter R

By Greg Migliore