1945.  End of the Second World War. Germany is divided into several occupied zones. Auto Union is located in Chemnitz, on the Eastern, Russian-controlled side.

As car factories at Zwickau and Zschoupau are dismantled, Auto Union  relocates to Ingolgstad in the West German region of Bavaria. The new  building is a spectacular, huge space to set up the assembly plant and  spare parts warehouses.

The Bavarian Bank only agrees to lend the necessary money because of the personal circumstances of Dr. Hahn and Dr. Bruhn. In only one year,  the Ingolstadt Deposit becomes the biggest warehouse in Germany.

On 17th of August 1948, Auto Union GmbH is established and starts production under the name of DKW. The first vehicle ever to be assembled is a van with a two-stroke engine, the DKW F 89 L. The following year, the first  car appears – the DKW F9, which is produced until April 1954. Another  car is produced simultaneously, from 1951: the F89 U, which is presented  at the 36th International Motor Show.

In 1957, the DKW1000 is introduced with a couple of variants, the S  and the Universal, alongside an attractive coupé, the SP1000,  the design of which is inspired by Ford’s Thunderbird. At the end of the 1950’s, the production of two-stroke engined vehicles slows down,  as the company requires more money to finance development.

German financier Friedrich Karl Flick focuses on the car factories in  Ingolstadt and Düsseldorf, but is forced to also trade in steel  and coal by a ruling from the International Chamber of Commerce. Flick  finally offers the company to Daimler-Benz, which decides, strategically,  to take over Auto Union and aim their common efforts at the luxury car  and commercial vehicle markets. In 1963, Daimler-Benz absorbs the Düsseldorf plant and a two-seater Spider with the revolutionary Wankel rotary engine is presented at that year’s Frankfurt International Motor Show.

The following year, Daimler-Benz offers the company to Volkswagen and  sells 50%. A year later, Volkswagen has complete control and the final  DKW model, the F102, is born. Audi makes only the body for this model. It is September 1965 and the brand name Audi appears for the first time on a post-war car.

Audi begins production of the 60, 75, 80 and Super 90 models: sturdy,  robust cars which propose new design ideas for a novelty-starved country.

Volkswagen’s original idea is to use the Ingolstadt plant for its own  production, but April 1966 witnesses the outline of a new model which,  for its attractive design and effective engine, is to grant Audi absolute independance.

In any case, Audi’s long term objective is to find its own niche within  the luxury car market, as it possesses a level of technology which Volkswagen can only dream of at this time. The R & D phase is completed when Audi creates its own technical complex in Ingolstadt, under Ludwig Kraus.

As the new designs raise internal problems, Ludwig and a group of loyal  engineers design a secret model: the Audi 100, an elegant saloon with  a powerful four-stroke engine. However, the clay model of it is found by Volkswagen personnel and is subject to discussions concerning its possible modification or even elimination. We must not forget that, at this time, Audi bows to all pressures that Volkswagen imposes.

Ludwig perseveres and pushes on to the final stage. The model is presented  to Volkswagen and is accepted, its superior design and engine finally being acknowledged.

The Audi 100 has a weight of 1,050 kg (2,315 lb). and is 4.59 m long (just over 15 ft). With a spacious interior, it is the first front-wheel-drive car ever to be built in Germany. The design of this model is the first to be based on mathematical formulation in order to reduce production costs and minimize the vehicle’s weight through computerized calculations and finite element analysis.

In 1968, Audi introduces three models, the 100, 100S and 100LS, powered  by 1.8 engines with 80, 90 and 100 bhp, accelerating from 0-100 km/h  (62 mph) in 12 seconds and having a maximum speed of 165 km/h (102 mph).  Shortly after, in 1969, the Audi 100 already shows its legendary quality  and receives the Hobby Magazine “AutoOscar” award. In March the same year, a new merged company, Audi-NSU-Auto Union.AG. appears. Within  the group, NSU proposes an innovative vehicle with the Wankel rotary engine and a ground-breaking, aerodynamic design – the NSU Ro 80.
September 1969 witnesses the debut of the Audi 100 Coupé S at  the Frankfurt International Motor Show. The stunning new model boasts  a two-door body and an Italian-influenced styling. Its 1,781 cc engine gains twin Solex carburettors and wider 84 mm pistons and delivers 115  bhp, giving the car a maximum speed of 185 km/h (115 mph).

Production starts in Autumn 1970 and a year later the engine is modified,  having a a single-carburettor and an output of 112 bhp. The 100S is  no longer produced and the new 100GL is shown in Geneva in 1972. In  the same year, Audi announces a company record-breaking figure of 300,000  units. In July, the Audi 80 is born and promptly obtains the “Golden Star” award.

In 1973, more modifications are made: new front end, new rear lights,  rear suspension with springs replacing torsion bars, a reinforced chassis, new brakes, seat headrests and seat belts. From 1974, all models get self-stabilized steering geometry and a twin-circuit braking system,  prompting sales to soar to 500,000 units. Two new models are introduced: the Audi 100L and the Audi 50, which later becomes the Volkswagen Golf.

August 1976 signals the end of the first generation Audi 100, with a total unit production of 827,474 saloons and 30,687 of the Coupé S.