Audi Sport GmbH: The Beginning, Creating a Brand Experience

“We were all extremely motivated to work on this new image and success for the Audi brand at quattro GmbH.”
Anita Hofmayer, former employee of quattro GmbH

[source: Audi AG]

Audi Sport GmbH was founded on October 10, 1983, under the name “quattro GmbH” as a wholly owned subsidiary of AUDI AG. “quattro” already meant much more than the completely new transmission system with permanent all-wheel drive presented by Audi in 1980. The pioneering technology helped the Audi quattro sports coupé, which was introduced at that time, to achieve much more in terms of driving dynamics, driving stability, traction and safety, and created the basis for its major sales and motorsport successes.

quattro revolutionized the automotive industry and became synonymous with a new technological dimension with its driving dynamics, driving stability, traction and safety, thanks to the technical expertise and top performance from Audi. The term quattro continues to grow into a defining trademark for the premium manufacturer’s outstanding quality features and clearly underscores the Audi motto of “Vorsprung durch Technik.” The name quattro GmbH unmistakably stands for the special note of individuality, sportiness and exclusivity that Audi’s new subsidiary delivers.

The original goals of the newly created quattro GmbH: on the one hand, it was intended to protect the quattro name and marketing rights internationally in a legally regulated manner; while on the other hand it specifically supplemented the Audi portfolio with sophisticated product and service offerings marked with the quattro logo. In 1984, quattro GmbH offered its first high-quality collection. It was comprised of 22 elegant, olive and black-colored luggage items and small leather goods – from travel bags and wallets to key rings.

The new line of business is thriving and inspiring. “We were all extremely motivated to work on this new image and success for the Audi brand at quattro GmbH,” says Anita Hofmayer, an employee of quattro GmbH in the early days. The sporty Audi subsidiary systematically expanded its product range, upgraded Audi vehicles from the 1990s onwards, which were characterized by high design standards and technical sophistication, and finally became a car manufacturer itself in 1996.

With its individual program from 1995 onwards, now known as “Audi exclusive”, quattro GmbH creates more and more new equipment and refinement options outside of the standard Audi range – from exciting special exterior and interior colors to luxurious, high-quality design options for the passenger cabins, to technology highlights and sporty wheels, and also small-series production special editions and model concepts, such as the unique convertible in the elaborately printed Picasso design. For the Audi customers of tomorrow, who are already older than twelve, quattro GmbH even offers a mini convertible that can reach speeds of up to 25 km/h and it is available in six colors – with a single-cylinder four-stroke engine and a two-speed manual transmission.

Nowadays, highly personalized vehicles with the four rings can also be created with the help of digital solutions such as the “Audi exclusive Customiser”: a 3D visualization tool that turns selected models (Audi RS e-tron GT*, Audi RS 6 Avant*, Audi RS Q8* and Audi Q8 e-tron*) into personal one-offs in real time with thousands of individual design combinations. The Audi collection program currently offers, among other things, four high-quality collections with fashion, lifestyle products and matching accessories.

The topic of sustainability is of particular importance to the former quattro GmbH (renamed as Audi Sport GmbH since 2016), both now and in the future. For example, production of the Audi RS e-tron GT is already net CO2-neutral in terms of the overall process – and this will be successively carried out at all Audi plants by 2025. And the extensive range of equipment is also steadily becoming more sustainable. “We already offer our customers options such as leather-free fabrics with recycled materials or sporty rims made from CO2-reduced production processes. And we will continue to expand this range,” says Sebastian Grams, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH.