Founding a legend

85 years ago this month, four automotive manufacturers merged to form Auto Union AG.

5 June, 2017

Strength in unity

In 1932, Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer joined forces to stave of financial pressures and formed the precursor to one of the world’s most famous car companies.

5 June, 2017


In the late 1920s, economic times were hard. Company mergers were in many cases the only alternative to bankruptcy and the face of vehicle manufacture in Germany was set to change forever.

In June 1932, the four Saxon vehicle manufacturers, Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer, all found themselves struggling, to the point that only the merger of all four companies in co-operation with the Saxon state bank could avoid the threat of insolvency. 

In August 1928 Zschopauer Motorenwerke/DKW had already become the majority shareholders of Audi Automobilwerke in Zwickau. The merger to become Auto Union AG took place in June 1932. Zschopauer Motorenwerke was the receiving company. It also took over the automobile division of the Wanderer plant in Chemnitz. 

The now famous four intertwined rings was chosen as a symbol of the merger and while the four merging companies continued to exist and operate, each brand represented a particular market segment – avoiding unnecessary competition within the new company group. 

Auto Union offered a comprehensive range of models, from the small DKW motorcycle to the large Horch eight-cylinder Pullman Saloon. In the 1930s the company was the second largest manufacturer of vehicles in Germany.