Audi’s history began in the early twentieth century when August Horch, a former automobile engineer, merged four small-sized automotive companies to establish Auto Union. After numerous mergers and acquisitions, auto Union joined the Volkswagen Group in 1964 and spent the following two decades rebranding itself. Initially, Audi was known only for making cars that performed well, but the brand has since come to represent a new style of understated premium value. The brand has also grown, and has now become a true premium brand, in image, sales, and all other facets of its business.
We are back with our 23rd edition.
We now enter another new year. Over the last year, JOH. has made several new beginnings, both big and small. Sometimes we made impossible plans and had to start again from scratch after we realized our error, but our efforts are gradually transforming us into the company we have always wanted to be. I believe all companies grow in the same way. There are always problems to solve, but as companies overcome them one by one, they get closer to the big goal they have set for themselves. This struggle seems to continue day after day, but these experiences are what teach us to be satisfied even when things do not work out perfectly, and to encourage each other as we pass over each hurdle on the path to our destination.
In this edition, I want to talk about cars. Even people who don’t know much about car brands unconsciously reveal something about their own characters and tastes when they purchase a vehicle. Some focus on how much cargo or how many people can fit. Others care more about their car than their house and buy a car that they can’t afford. There are also hose who are obsessed with performance and buy a car with power and speed. Perhaps automobiles are especially significant purchases because you can’t hide the brand.
This month’s brand, Audi, is certainly an expensive premium brand—but there is a subtlety to the brand that its competitors lack. The four-wheel drive system, quattro, appeals to consumers who want an automobile that is modest, but also offers premium features and excellent safety. I’ve heard the same thing from a number of Audi owners, and the Audi brand has long been one that I’ve taken an interest in.
Once a brand has established itself in the market, it becomes difficult for the brand to transform its image. This is why Toyota, a mass-market brand, had to come up with a new name Lexus and go so far as to employ a different distribution channel when it entered the premium market. Those who only know the Audi of the 2000s may not know this, but Audi is one of very few brands that have successfully transformed from a mass-market brand to a premium brand. Audi entered the premium automobile market later than Mercedes-Benz or BMW, but it has grown into a formidable competitor and an automobile market trendsetter.
Audi continues to develop innovative technologies and pursue a premium sensibility whose practicality differentiates the automaker from its competitors.
As a long-time car-lover, and one with a broad interest in many types of cars, I can’t claim that Audi’s cars are always the unrivaled best. I believe, however, that it is more important for a brand to maintain its unique values and style than to always be number one. Thinking about it, it seems as though the same goes for people—those who are true to themselves often seem to be the most attractive.
The goal of Audi’s founder was to make an automobile that “runs well.” Let’s imagine the loud roar of the engine as we go back to those days.
32 Line Up
Audis are classified into three groups according to shape and function, and these differences are reflected in the model names. Here are a few of Audi’s more than 40 models that are noticeable in sales, price, and other qualities.
36 Inner Space
Here are the design elements and core technologies behind Audi’s competitiveness.
Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are all premium German automobiles, but they all have very different characters. In this section, we compare their differing designs, sensibilities, and performance.
54 German Cars
We met with four people who drive cars from different German brands. Even though they work for the same design company in Munich, they all had their own reasons for choosing their car.
58 My Audi
Audi users don’t play favorites, and all segments of the company’s lineup enjoy nearly equal popularity with consumers. We met the owners of four different Audis and asked them what they thought about their current model and how it differed from their previous car.
We asked some Audi drivers about the details they most appreciate in their cars.
72 New Premium
Audi’s unique sensibility has birthed a new premium value sensibility that sets Audi apart from other premium car brands. The meaning of this “new premium” becomes evident when we look into the lifestyles of Audi drivers.
97 B’s Cut
If we examine Audi’s history, we can see that the automaker’s image of understated luxury is the result of a focus on technology.
112 Brand Story
Audi was founded in 1932 as a union of several small automobile companies. Since that time, Audi has pursued constant innovation through technology acquired in numerous M&As. We take a look at how a quality-focused mass-market automaker evolved into an industry-leading premium brand.
Views from inside an Audi. Let’s listen to the sound of its quiet movements.
- Suyong Joh
- Editor In Chief
- Taehyuk Choi
- Senior Editor
- Eunsung Park
- Heeyoung Yoo, Bora Nam, Eunah Kim
- Translation Editor
- Heejean Kim
- JOH & Company
- Senior Designer
- Younghyun Ok
- Ayoon Jung
- Film Designer
- Onedoe Jung
- Styling Editor
- Insung Yoo
- Nari Park (UK)
- Guest Editors
- Arash Nassiri, Chanyong Park, Haeyoung Sohn, Hyojung Choi, Hyun Son, Jungho Lee, Joehyun Choi, Mihye Nam, Seungchul Yang
- Arash Nassiri, Bosung Kim, Donghoon Shin, Jaeyong Park, Juyeon Lee, K Lim, Minhwa Maeng, Minhyung Kim, Sunghoon Park, Rei Moon, Zai Nomura
- Changin Lim, Hyekyung Shin, Sinyoup Choi
- Gieun Lee, Hyunkyung Yoo, Jeanhee Ha, Rancy Kim, Soonok Hwang
- Copy Editing
- Eugene Larsen-Hallok, Heeyoung Yoo, Joyce Paek
- Sunyoung Park, Nohseon Song, Hyoungjin Choi, Eunyoung Lim, Shinyoung Park
- JOH & Company
- Top Process
- Printed in the Republic of Korea
- 978-89-98415-41-9 03050
- Auto. Biographie
- Premium Power: The Secret of Success of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche and Audi
- Car: The Definitive Visual History of the Automobile
- Encounter – The Audi Technology Magazine
- AUDI VORSPRUNG 100
- Four Rings: The Audi Story