From the Establishment of the Horch Company to Winning the International Alpine Run.
1899 - The Horch Company is Established
On November 14, 1899, August Horch (1868 - 1951) established the company A. Horch & Cie. in the Ehrenfeld district of Cologne. Here he developed his first car, which was completed in early 1901. The company moved to Reichenbach in Saxony in March 1902.
1901 - The First Horch Car is Built
The first Horch car took to the road in 1901. It had a horizontal engine with an output of about 4-5 hp, and was designed with an additional small piston to absorb the vibrations of the crankshaft. August Horch referred to this as his "impact-free" engine. It also featured an alloy crankcase, a pioneering achievement in car manufacturing.
1904 - A Share-issuing Company is Established
The success of Horch cars made it necessary to expand the size of the factory. On the advice of his business associates, August Horch decided to establish a share-issuing company, called A. Horch & Cie. Motorwagen-Werke AG, and built a new location in Zwickau. Production started in 1904, beginning a long tradition of car manufacturing in Zwickau.
1906 - A Tradition of Car Manufacturing in Neckarsulm
1906 saw the launch of the "Sulmobil," a three-wheeled vehicle with a 3.5 hp motorcycle engine. The "Sulmobil," however, was not a success. As a result, the first "Original Neckarsulm Motor Car," with a 1308 cc four-cylinder engine and 10 hp, went into production the same year.
1907 - Zschopauer Motorenwerke, J.S. Rasmussen Established
In 1904, Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen established Zschopauer Motorenwerke to manufacture boiler fittings. In 1906 he purchased a textile mill in Zschopau, Saxony, and began production there in 1907. During World War I Rasmussen worked on a steam-driven vehicle ("Dampfkraftwagen"), from which the three letters DKW were derived.
1909 - Audi Automobilwerke is Established in Zwickau
In 1909 August Horch had a dispute with the supervisory board of A. Horch & Cie. Motorwagen-Werke AG and as a result, left the company he had begun. Shortly after, on July 16, 1909, he established a second company, Horch Automobil-Werke GmbH, in the same city. Horch lost the ensuing legal dispute over the company name. His solution was to use the Latin translation of his name (which means "hark!"). The new company name, Audiwerke GmbH, became effective on April 25, 1910.
1913 - The First Wanderer Car
The first Wanderer car went into series production in 1913. This small car, with a 5/12 hp four-cylinder engine, had not been on the market very long when it became a stage star in the operetta "Puppchen" (which can be translated loosely as "darling") by Jean Gilbert. The title song was rather catchy: "Darling, you are the apple of my eye, darling, I think the world of you." From then on the little Wanderer was known simply by the name "Puppchen."
1914 - Victory in the Coveted Challenge Trophy
The International Austrian Alpine Run was one of the most famous races of its time. For the first time, August Horch participated in an Audi in 1911. Horch won first prize. This encouraged him to enter an Audi team in the challenge trophy in 1912 through 1914. Audi won the team prize all three years. The Alpine Challenge Trophy was presented to the Audi drivers on June 27, 1914.