The extensive range of Audi and NSU models covering a wide variety of engines and drive concepts prompted the coining of a new advertising slogan in 1971, and one that has effectively been the company's mission statement ever since: "Vorsprung durch Technik".
In the spirit of these new guiding principles, the first-generation Audi 80 (B1 series) was launched in 1972, with a glittering array of new technical features such as a new series of OHC engines and self-stabilising steering roll radius. By the time production of this first generation ceased, more than a million cars had been built.
1974 saw the appointment of Ferdinand Piëch as Ludwig Kraus' successor, initially as Head of Technical Development. During the "Piëch era" Audi was transformed into a highly innovative car manufacturer. This period also witnessed the gradual raising of the Audi brand's positioning. The five-cylinder engine (1976), turbocharging (1979) and quattro four-wheel drive (1980) are eloquent testimonies to the success of this policy.
The company underwent a change of name from Audi NSU Auto Union AG to AUDI AG in 1985, so that since then the company and the products it builds have shared the same name. The company's headquarters were moved back to Ingolstadt. Audi's subsequent progress has been marked by a sensational range of technical innovations: fully galvanised bodies, the most aerodynamic volume-built saloon of its time, the extensive use of turbocharged petrol engines, the development of economical direct-injection diesel engines, the aluminium body, the first hybrid vehicles, direct petrol injection and the manufacture of luxury-class cars with eight and twelve-cylinder engines are just some of the many mileposts that document the emergence of the Audi brand as a manufacturer of premium cars.
Audi history: the “Four Rings” as book or e-journal.