Audi etymology: What does its name mean?

Audi, alongside BMW and Mercedes-Benz, dominates the luxury car market, but what have you ever considered what it name means? We unpack its convoluted etymology here.

Audi has a rather complex history, only some of which we’ll go into here.

In 1899 August Horch founded a car company in Cologne, Germany, which as so many automotive pioneers have done before and since, he named after himself. Due to a dispute with his chief financial officer, Horch left the company around 1909.

He decided to setup a new car company, again bearing his name, albeit branded as an Auotmobilwerke rather than a Motorwagenwerke. Naturally the people running his original car company were none too pleased and sued him for breach of trademark.

The courts ruled in their favour and Horch was forced to choose another name for his new car company.

In a brainstorming session with associates, the son of his friend came up with a suggestion that would ultimately be adopted.

As the story goes, the kid was studying Latin at the time and noted that in German, “Horch!” means “Hark!” or “Hear!”, and that “Audi!” was direct translation.