Although Audi's four rings are now synonymous with German luxury, that wasn't always the case.
Audi itself dates back to the early days of the European car industry, although Auto Union acquired the rights to the then-discontinued Audi name and four ring logo in the 1920s. After World War II, Audi's parent company was briefly owned by Daimler-Benz, but Volkswagen later purchased the brand as it sought to move away from just Beetle-based cars. VW...
revived Audi in the late 1960s to better compete with more upmarket rivals and the brand was formally introduced to U.S. buyers in 1970.
A "60 Minutes" news report scarred Audi in the U.S. in the mid-1980s when it linked Audi 5000 sedans to six deaths related to unintended acceleration. While the news report turned out to be a farce, Audi's reputation suffered until it introduced the A4 in the mid-1990s.
The compact premium A4 sedan began to catch on with upwardly mobile buyers looking for something different than the "default" BMW 3-Series. From there, the brand moved both up and down, with cars like the A3 subcompact, A6 midsize and A8 full-size sedans. As the industry crept toward crossovers, Audi began using Q nomenclature to indicate larger vehicles like its Q5 and Q7s.
Today, Audi offers a wide range of premium cars, ranging from entry-level models up to near supercar levels with its R8. Audi is perhaps best known for its almost entirely all-wheel-drive lineup. The automaker brands its system as quattro, and it was with this traction advantage that Audi found a rapidly-growing niche among buyers in snowy locales.
But Audi is also known for its performance-oriented lineup, which makes extensive use of turbochargers and other high-tech items.