Ludwig Kraus was born on December 26, 1911 in Hettenhausen, near the town of Pfaffenhofen in Southern Germany. He studied mechanical engineering and in 1937 joined Daimler-Benz AG as a designer in the engine production department. Much later, when that company had purchased Auto Union GmbH, Kraus was seconded to Ingolstadt to undertake a product modernisation project. On October 1, 1963 he was appointed Vehicle Development Director there.
Auto Union GmbH was acquired by Volkswagenwerk AG in December 1964, and in the following year Ludwig Kraus joined the Ingolstadt-based company’s Board of Management. His major contribution to the company’s progress was the development of the modern Audi vehicle programme, which was introduced from the end of 1965 onwards as a replacement for the DKW models with two-stroke engines. The model lines created by Kraus – Audi 60/Super 90, Audi 100, Audi 80 and Audi 50 – proved to be the key to the company’s subsequent prosperity.
His role at Audi NSU Auto Union
After amalgamation with NSU Werke AG and the formation of Audi NSU Auto Union AG, Ludwig Kraus was appointed to the new company’s Board of Management on September 1, 1969, with responsibility for Technical Development. He retired on December 31,1973, but between 1976 and 1985 was a member of the Audi NSU Auto Union AG Supervisory Board. Ludwig Kraus died on September 19, 1997.