Today in Transportation History – 1868: Birth of An Automotive Giant

Automotive entrepreneur August Horch was born in the municipality of Winningen in the Kingdom of Prussia (now part of Germany). After graduating from Mittweida Technical College with a degree in engineering, Horch pursued a career in shipbuilding before shifting his focus to another mode of transportation. In 1896, he began working for automobile pioneer Karl Benz as a production manager.

August Horch in an undated photo.

Horch went into business for himself in 1899, founding the automobile manufacturer A. Horch & Co. in the city of Cologne. The company’s first automobile was introduced in 1901. Horch left his namesake company in 1909 after a dispute with his partners. He soon established a new automobile firm in the town of Zwikau. He originally named this firm Horch Automobil-Werke GmbH, something that led to a legal dispute with his former partners. A court ruled in favor in favor of his former partners, deciding that the name “Horch” was a registered trademark and that he could not use it for another automotive company.

In 1910, Horch established a new automobile manufacturer. He named this company Audi Automobilwerke GmbH, with “Audi” being the Latin translation of “Horch.” The company became known far and wide simply as Audi, and it is now one of the world’s best-selling luxury automobile brands.

Horch remained with Audi until 1920. In 1937, he published an autobiography entitled “Ich Baute Autos” (I Built Cars). Horch died in 1951 at the age of 82.

For more information about August Horch, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Horch

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