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25 years quattro - End
Even back then, a mere dozen four-wheel-drive protagonists at Audi led by Project Manager Walter Treser realised that "the car we are planning to build must hit the road with a 'big bang'. It must convince the market not through loud slogans, but through its visible success. "And Ferdinand Piëch added to this by emphasising that "we must force the competition to follow in our footsteps, to copy our strategy and concept". So this is how marketing was once conceived and created by Audi's engineers working in their private offices.

All this ultimately resulted in the PSC Product Strategy Committee, a group of specialists focusing entirely on facts, figures, and perspectives. For this is the input providing the basis for decisions on how to open and penetrate the market with a new product.

Back in 1979, the good results achieved in demonstrating the new drive system to the top-level Board Members of the VW Group tipped the scales in favour of Audi, which back then stood for "Vorsprung durch Technik" more than any other manufacturer. However, there were still doubts as to the realistic production figure: initially the target specified was 400 units, precisely the number required for homologating the new car for international motorsport. Then this figure was increased to 1,500 and subsequently to 3,500 and even 5,000 units.

With all plans being carefully discussed, rejected, re-activated and re-discussed, the Committee finally agreed on a compromise: production of the 200-horsepower five-seater coupe was to take place outside of the production facilities for Audi's large-series models.

This was not least because the quality standards expected of a car in the DM 50,000 segment appeared impossible to achieve on a production line where the absolute highlight and the most expensive model was the Audi 100. A car which back then retailed for around DM 25,000.

The unusual design of the new car still represented a minor uncertainty factor at the time: unlike other Gran Turismo cars in this price segment, the muscular four-wheel-drive coupé, through its unusual design, did not exactly appeal to softies with the licence to cruise up and down big boulevards. Indeed, chief Designer Hartmut Warkuss explained the specific design of the car in clear and convincing terms: "In tough competition, whether in sport or on the road, there is no room for indulgence or gimmicks. On the contrary, the message here is tough and rough - it is clear and straightforward, focusing on the technical highlights of such an incomparable driving machine. "

As a result, Audi's new brand flagship now came with outstanding technical features, unique design, and the endorsement of top management - but still had no name. And once again Walter Treser proved to be the driving force: although finding a name was actually not his responsibility, he started looking for the right term, leafing through trade magazines in the evening and finally finding a term in an American magazine he found truly appealing: the name was Quattratrac, and the term used in the context of a special transmission for a Jeep was forever ingrained in his memory. After all, the name of the new Audi was intended to express the concept of the car's all-wheel drive, the term "quattro", the Italian word for four, being just right in his opinion to describe four drive wheels.

So the name was put to the test together with various other suggestions, after some of the decision-makers had supported the term "Quadro". The next obstacle was the Product Strategy Committee in Wolfsburg, at the VW Group's Headquarters. There the responsible division discussed the term for introducing Audi's all-wheel-drive coupé in a memorable meeting on 12 November 1979, the name still being described at the time as "not decided yet". But in reality Audi's team had already prepared the car scheduled to enter the market, the new model proudly bearing the term "Quattro" with a large "Q" on its right-hand rear corner.

The decisive discussion round finally took a close look at the proposal made by the strategists in Wolfsburg. Their suggestion was "Carat", short for "Coupé-All-Rad-Antrieb-Turbo" (Coupé-All-Wheel-Drive-Turbo). With Treser not being surprised by this suggestion, he countered right away by putting his hand into his pocket and pulling out a bottle of Eau de Cologne bearing the same name marketed by the German cosmetics and deodorant company 4711. Objecting that a trendsetting product such as the new all-wheel-drive coupé should not bear the same name as a perfume used by German housewives, he quickly turned the tables, giving the name "Quattro" its ultimate breakthrough.

When the quattro left all exotic cars far behind at its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1980, just two dozen of these outstanding models had completed final assembly. The first customer cars, in turn, were not scheduled for the market until autumn of the same year. But the quattro nevertheless made its way irresistibly to customers the world over, the initial production volume of 400 units, which Sales had seen as a big challenge, ultimately increasing in time to no less than 11,560 cars sold.

The Ur-quattro as it was called later to clearly identify the first model against many other Audi 80, 90, 100, and 200 quattros, had its own world of advertising the most outstanding and challenging rallies the world over. And indeed, wherever the Ur-quattro appeared on the track, it left a lasting impression: clouds of dust, fountains of gravel, and black stripes on grey asphalt showed clearly that this car was very special indeed.

The successors to the Ur-quattro benefited from this superiority only in part. For reflecting the car's extravagant technical outfit, they needed the right kind of convincing advertising: "Something far beyond everyday motoring", to use the words of German rally racer Harald Demuth in describing the task given to the advertising agency requested to develop the right campaign for the Audi quattro.

The result is that legendary ski-jump commercial which countless car buffs and aficionados the world over still remember to this very day - the commercial which hailed the advent of that outstanding Audi quattro advertising.

The ski-jump itself was in Finland near the town of Kaipola. It was 78 metres long, with a gradient of more than 80 per cent. Which, obviously, was no problem for Harald Demuth and the Audi 100 CS carefully secured at the bottom of the ski-jump. This almost incredible example of supreme traction was of course - as required - far beyond the reality of everyday motoring.

Other famous commercials convey the same message: grandpa and grandson Eskimo out hunting - the traces of a bear, the paws of a wolf, and finally the tracks of a tyre in the eternal ice: "Quattro", says grandpa - and all his grandson does is nod in awe.

Another example is the reception given by an Indian Maharaja which probably will have to be cancelled because heavy monsoon rain has prevented many diplomats from coming to the event. Indeed, the only one who makes it is the German ambassador in his Audi quattro. Although, to be honest, even he has to call in advance, telling the Maharaja that he will be late - because he is picking up his Japanese colleague on the way.

quattro is a powerful brand with a powerful position in the market. Ever since the introduction of this superior drive system, more than 1.8 million people the world over have opted for an Audi with this unique, high-speed all-wheel-drive system.

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