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Headquartered in Germany, Audi AG is one of best-selling luxury automobile manufacturers in the world. Founded by August Horsch (whose name means "listen" in German), the company began in the early 1900s. A few decades later Horsch merged with three other manufacturers and created Auto Union. These four original companies are memorialized in the 4 rings of the Audi logo. Auto Union was eventually acquired by Volkwagon in the 1960s, and was relaunched as Audi (the Latin derivation of "listen").
With it's past slogan "Advancement through Technology" and its current Audi USA slogan "Truth in Engineering" the company philosophy is clear. Always pressing further, this luxury line of autos is known for elegant, stylish, and high-quality cabins contained in a technologically advanced auto which combines luxury and sport.
Through the 1990s, Audi began to shift its focus to competing against upscale German automotive companies such as Mercedes Benz and BMW. Manufacturing in nine plants around the world, Audi introduced new technologies, including the aluminum space-frame construction and
Staying true to the use of technology to improve their autos, Audi continues to innovate. They introduced the use of aluminum construction throughout their line, and were first to mass-market produce 100% galvanized cars to prevent corrosion. The majority of Audi's lineup in the United States feature all-wheel drive standard on most of its expensive vehicles (only the entry-level trims of the A4 and A6 are available with front-wheel drive), in contrast to its competitors who offer this only as an option.
Technologically, Audi is advancing the auto industry and the way drivers use and interact with their cars. From engines that use FSI technology to LED day time run lights, Audi has lead the way in integrating new developments. Most recently, the use of Multi-Media Interface (MMI) which controls all in-car entertainment (radio, CD changer, Ipod, TV tuner), along with navigation and temperature controls. They have also come out with technology to produce synthetic diesel from a combination of water and carbon dioxide. Audi is also developing e-tron, an electric drive powertrain system
In addition to their success in the luxury automotive segment, Audi has also competed in various forms of motor sports. In the 1990s, they found success in the Touring and Super Touring categories of motor racing. Since 1999, Audi has had 13 wins in the Le Mans 24 hour, and are major players numerous other races.
Audi's line of luxury cars are known world-wide and have won dozens of awards. Multiple lines have World or International Car of the Year awards. Other awards such as Coupe of the Year, Best Car of the Year, Automobile of the Year, World Design Car of the Year, and World Performance Car of the Year are just a few of the accolades Audi has won in the past 20 years.