By Rod Ward
We all know that the four rings on the modern Audi badge came from the four companies (Horch, Audi, Wanderer and DKW) which comprised the prewar Auto Union. Two of those firms were founded by the automotive pioneer August Horch, but the driving force behind the grouping together in 1926 of the four Saxon companies as the Auto Union was a Dane, Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen, with a bit of pressure from his bankers. Wanderer had previously employed Austrian engineer Ferdinand Porsche to design their cars, so when he conceived a new and revolutionary rear-engined racing car in the 1930s it was built by Auto Union, with the support of the Nazi regime. After the Second World War the Auto Union factories found themselves in the Russian zone. Some production continued there, but the marque names remained in West Germany, where Auto Union was revived in Düsseldorf. DKW cars returned to production after the war, and the Audi name was revived. Under the control of Volkswagen, then of Mercedes-Benz, and finally of Volkswagen again, the Audi brand gained in popularity until it reached a pre-eminent position in the 21st century. All of this is described in this publication, plus the story of NSU, which was combined with Audi by VW, and whose Neckarsulm plant built Audis in the 21st century.