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Audi is a German automobile manufacturer that designs, engineers, produces, markets and distributes luxury cars. Audi oversees worldwide operations from its headquarters in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany. Audi-branded vehicles are produced in nine production facilities worldwide.
Audi has been a majority owned (99.55%) subsidiary of Volkswagen Group since 1966, following a phased purchase of Audi AG's predecessor, Auto Union, from Daimler-Benz. Volkswagen relaunched the Audi brand with the 1965 introduction of the Audi F103 series.
The company name is based on the Latin translation of the surname of the founder, August Horch. "Horch", meaning "listen" in German, becomes "audi" in Latin. The four rings of the Audi logo each represent one of four car companies that banded together to create Audi's predecessor company, Auto Union. Audi's slogan is Vorsprung durch Technik, meaning "Advancement through Technology".
Audi produces 100% galvanised cars to prevent corrosion, and was the first mass-market vehicle to do so, following introduction of the process by Porsche, c. 1975. Along with other precautionary measures, the full-body zinc coating has proved to be very effective in preventing rust. The body's resulting durability even surpassed Audi's own expectations, causing the manufacturer to extend its original 10-year warranty against corrosion perforation to currently 12 years (except for aluminium bodies which do not rust).
Audi introduced a new series of vehicles in the mid-1990s and continues to pursue new technology and high performance. An all-aluminium car was brought forward by Audi, and in 1994 the Audi A8 was launched, which introduced aluminium space frame technology (called Audi Space Frame or ASF) which saves weight and improves torsion rigidity compared to a conventional steel frame. Prior to that effort, Audi used examples of the Type 44 chassis fabricated out of aluminium as test-beds for the technique. The disadvantage of the aluminium frame is that it is very expensive to repair and requires a specialized aluminium bodyshop. The weight reduction is somewhat offset by the quattro four-wheel drive system which is standard in most markets. Nonetheless, the A8 is usually the lightest all-wheel drive car in the full-size luxury segment, also having best-in-class fuel economy. The Audi A2, Audi TT and Audi R8 also use Audi Space Frame designs.