The company traces its origins back to 1899 and August Horch. The first Horch automobile was produced in 1901 in Zwickau, in former East Germany. In 1910, Horch was forced out of the company he had founded. He then started a new company in Zwickau and continued using the Horch brand. His former partners sued him for trademark infringement and a German court determined that the Horch brand belonged to his former company. August Horch was forced to refrain from using his own family name in his new car business. As the word "horch!" translates to "listen!" in German, August Horch settled on the Latin equivalent of his name - "audi!". It is also popularly believed that Audi is an acronym which stands for "Auto Union Deutschland Ingolstadt". Audi produces over 2 million vehicles annually at its main production site in Ingolstadt. Audi has another production plant in Neckarsulm.
Audi started with a 2612 cc model followed by a four cylinder model with 3564 cc, as well as 4680 cc and 5720 cc models. These cars were successful even in sporting events. August Horch left the Audi company in 1920. The first six cylinder model (4655 cc) appeared in 1924. In 1928, the company was acquired by J S Rasmussen, owner of DKW, who bought the same year the remains of the US automobile manufacturer, Rickenbacker including the manufacturing equipment for eight cylinder engines. These engines were used in Audi Zwickau and Audi Dresden models that were launched in 1929. At the same time, six cylinder and a small four cylinder (licensed from Peugeot) models were manufactured. Audi cars of that era were luxurious cars equipped with special bodywork.