Founded in 1932 in Zwickau, Germany, the automobile concern Auto Union joined the companies DKW, Audi, Horch and Wanderer, specializing in serial production of a wide range of cars of different classes, and optimized the economic situation of these companies. All the cars saved trademarks of their manufacturers, while inter-firm designation Auto Union received cars created jointly by several units of concern Auto Union and produced at its various plants. In 1938 Auto Union group began to do regular special tests (including crash tests and adjustable accident), starting an era of concern about the "safety of cars".
As a developer and supplier of military equipment from the mid-1930s, in May 1940 Auto Union AG ceases production of civilian vehicles are fully going to service needs of the German Army. In 1945, on the orders of the Soviet military commander in the German the factories of Auto Union in Saxony had been dismantled. The reformation of Auto Union was held in 1949. Only DKW brand was saved out of the 4 brands. In 1958 the Auto Union brand got back. The same year, Daimler-Benz acquired 87% of Auto Union, and took it under control in next year.
In 1964, Volkswagen acquired the factory in Ingolstadt and the trademark rights of Auto Union. The vehicles developed under the leadership of Daimler, became the basis of Volkswagen models. The new owner abandoned DKW brand from its lineup because of associations with the two-stroke engines. In 1967 Auto Union merged with the largest manufacturer of two-wheel vehicles NSU and formed Audi NSU Auto-Union AG, which became Audi AG in 1985, marking the end of the Auto Union brand.