The Four Rings of Audi

The prestigious four rings of Audi imply one of the Germany’s oldest manufacturers of automobiles.

It depicts the merger of four coveted independent motor vehicle manufacturers: DKW, Horch, Wanderer and Audi.

These automobiles laid the foundation of today’s AUDI AG.


August Horch & Cie., was founded by Horch on November 14, 1899 in Cologne.

‘In 1904, August Horch relocated his company to Zwickau and transformed it into a share-issuing company. However, in 1909 August Horch withdrew from the company he had founded, and set up a new enterprise under the name of “Audi”.’


The company was founded by August Horch in Zwickau on July 16, 1909 and did not take its founder’s name for business reasons. ‘Horch found a new name for the company by translating his name, which means “hark!”, “listen!”, into Latin. So it was that the second company to have been set up by August Horch commenced operations under the name Audi Automobilwerke GmbH, Zwickau, on April 25, 1910’.


In 1885 Johann Baptist Winklhofer and Richard Adolf Jaenicke, two mechanics from Chemnitz, Germany opened an automobile repair workshop. Soon they started making their new automobiles named Wanderer and in 1896, it was officially called Wanderer Fahrradwerke AG.

‘Wanderer built its first motorcycle in 1902. The idea of branching out into automobile production was finally put into practice in 1913. A small two-seater by the name of “Puppchen” heralded in Wanderer’s tradition of motor car production that was to last several decades.’


Initially started as name Rasmussen & Ernst 1904 in Chemnitz, the company was shifted to Zschopau in the Erzgebirge region in 1907.

‘The company’s founder Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen began to experiment with a steam-driven motor vehicle in 1916, registering DKW as a trademark. In 1919 the company, by now renamed Zschopauer Motorenwerke, switched to the manufacture of small two-stroke engines, which from 1922 on served as a springboard for its success in building motorcycles under the brand name DKW. The first small DKW motor car appeared on the market in 1928.’

After the merger Audi AG the company’s emblem of four interlinked rings. The original brand names DKW, Horch, Audi and Wanderer were retained.

‘Each of the four brands was assigned a specific market segment within the group: DKW assumed responsibility for motorcycles and small cars; Wanderer built midsize cars; Audi manufactured cars in the deluxe midsize class, and Horch produced deluxe top-of-the-range automobiles.’

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