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25 years quattro - Marketing and Markets
Whether the name was Audi NSU, Auto Union AG or, as of 1985, simply AUDI AG, the company remained exclusively a development and production operation until Organisation Units for Marketing (1991) and Sales (1993) were added. Up to that time, Audi's parent company in Wolfsburg - Volkswagen - was responsible for developing and creating all marketing processes. The fact remains, however, that Audi's engineers were by no means disinterested in this exciting area of business, which often enough set the benchmark for the success or failure of a new product development.

Without sophisticated market research, but with a good feeling for what the motorist is looking for or what he or she would certainly not want to miss out on in the foreseeable future, the men and women in the TE Division ("TE"standing for Technische Entwicklung or Technical Development) actively, dynamically and successfully started turning a marketing wheel which the professionals in Wolfsburg only had to confirm and endorse in its qualities. And even though the specialists in Ingolstadt were not always happy with the decisions taken in Wolfsburg, they gained increasing recognition in the course of time, especially after Ferdinand Piëch took over the Research and Development Division in Ingolstadt in August 1975.

At the time Piëch, just 38 years old back then, was consistently guided by a clear goal: to escape the limitations of mediocrity, to progress to a supreme position in the industry. In this era of new development, "Vorsprung durch Technik" served both as an advertising slogan and as the Company's internal guideline: whenever financially feasible, outstanding technical solutions were seen by Audi's managers and leaders as their obvious choice - also in the case of projects not destined for cars one day to be sold by the Audi brand, such as the Iltis offroader offering driving characteristics and handling so exceptional that it subsequently initiated the development of Audi's high-speed four-wheel-drive concept. Indeed, it was the superior traction of the Iltis offroader, as well as the safety reserves consistently maintained under all driving conditions, which ultimately paved the way for Audi's successful strategy leading the company all the way to the top.

But while the Iltis was certainly a fine achievement, it never became a best seller. It was, however, good enough to make history in later Audi models. Starting this process was difficult for the very reason that there was no other car which could have set the standard for the Audi Quattro.

In contrast, an attempt made by the Jensen brothers in Great Britain to achieve success in the mid-60s with the Jensen Interceptor, a stylish and dynamic coupé featuring Ferguson four-wheel drive, proved to be a failure, the project not bringing home the success in sports motoring Jensen had hoped for.

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