Published on July 9th, 2021 | by Subhash Nair


50 years of “Vorsprung durch Technik”

Audi’s famous “Vorsprung durch Technik” slogan turns 5 decades old.

Many years have passed since the brand Audi formed from the merger of NSU and Auto Union. The moment the brand started, it began to search for an identity to present to customers. Within 2 years, its marketing department came up with a phrase that has withstood the test of time: “Vorsprung durch Technik”.

50 Years of “Vorsprung durch Technik”.

Far from providing an English translation, Audi has pushed its strong German identity with this phrase in nearly every market. It roughly means, “Advancement with technology”.

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This year, Audi celebrates the 50th year of this famous slogan. Learn about its history and how the brand is commemorating the event in the press release below.


The Audi slogan “Vorsprung durch Technik” is marking its 50 year anniversary this year. Even half a century after its inception, the world-famous slogan of the Four Rings hasn’t lost any of its appeal. And each year, there’s a little bit more history behind it. On this momentous occasion, the company is looking back at a plethora of innovations over five decades that demonstrate why “Vorsprung durch Technik” isn’t just a slogan for Audi – it’s also an expression of the company’s future-oriented approach.

quattro at the top: In 1986, the Audi 100 CS quattro drove up the 37.5-degree incline of the ski-jumping hill in Kaipola, Finland, under its own power.

The birth of the slogan

1969 saw the merger of Auto Union GmbH, headquartered in Ingolstadt, and Neckarsulmer NSU Motorenwerke to form Audi NSU Auto Union AG at the Neckarsulm location. The new company’s range of models spanned from the air-cooled engines of the rear-wheel drive NSU Prinz series and the water-cooled four-cylinder engines of the front-wheel drive Audi 60 and Audi 100 to the rotary engine of the futuristic-looking NSU Ro 80. The idea to communicate this technological diversity as a competitive advantage came in 1970 from Hans Bauer. The employee in the Audi NSI advertising department devised the slogan that people around the world would come to recognize: “Vorsprung durch Technik.”

The new slogan “Vorsprung durch Technik” made its first appearance in a large-sized ad in January of 1971.

The new slogan made its first appearance in a large-sized ad in January of 1971. Soon, customers also saw it in Audi NSU brochures. Audi 100, Audi 100 Coupé S, Audi 80 or Audi 50 – they all now represented “Vorsprung durch Technik.”

1971 model range: Whether NSU Ro 80, Audi 100, Audi 100 Coupé S, Audi Variant, NSU Prinz 4 or NSU TT – they all now represented “Vorsprung durch Technik.”

The slogan was adapted over the years in many ways, including “Audi. A nice bit of technology.” or “Audi. Relaxed driving with perfect technology,” but the company soon returned to the catchy original. With the introduction of the Audi quattro in 1980, the slogan was used more frequently in advertising. The largest illuminated advertisement in Europe at the time was installed on a high-rise along the A9 Autobahn at the exit for Ingolstadt-Nord: the reddish brown Audi oval with the slogan “Vorsprung durch Technik.” The slogan became a clear part of the Audi Corporate Identity by October 1986, when it was also used in the sales brochures for the Audi 80. Today, fifty years later, it’s synonymous with the company.

“Vorsprung durch Technik” was also used in Audi NSU brochures soon after.

Changing technology

In a new special exhibit titled “50 Years of Vorsprung durch Technik” Audi will show visitors to the Audi Forum Neckarsulm its passion for technology throughout the years.

1980: The Audi quattro, the first high-volume serial sportscar with permanent all-wheel drive, marked Audi’s entry into manufacturer-operated motor sports and revolutionized the company’s image.

The “decade of Audi” was kicked off in Le Mans in the early 2000s. With new technologies such as FSI, Turbo-FSI, laser light, Ultra technology and hybrids, the Four Rings dominated the renowned long-distance race as the unparalleled serial winner. The aluminum compact A2 1.2 TDI also made its debut: It was the first and, to this day, only four-door three-liter car.

In 1988, Audi built its first top-range vehicle, the V8. Today, roughly 160,000 premium vehicles leave the Neckarsulm location each year. Among them are the model series Audi A4, Audi A5, Audi A6, Audi A7 and Audi A8.

The company made the next quantum leap in 2018 with the introduction of the Audi e-tron, the first fully electric Audi vehicle to go into serial production, boasting a range of 400 kilometers and blazing the trail for premium electromobility. Three years later came the market launch of the Audi e-tron GT2, revolutionary in its design and proof that the future of e-mobility will be exciting. The new brand campaign “Future is an Attitude” underlines the future-oriented approach of Audi to continually question age-old views of mobility.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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