AUDI AG: double world premier for anniversary [Press release]
· Carmaker celebrates centennial with spectacular evening gala in
· German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “Another demonstration of the
ability to compete in the marketplace”
· Audi A5 Sportback and Audi Design grand piano make their first
Ingolstadt – Audi celebrated its 100th birthday in Ingolstadt this evening
with two world premiers. At the evening gala in the Audi Forum, 1,800
invited guests witnessed a spectacular program of celebrations staged
outdoors. The highlights included the speech by German Chancellor
Angela Merkel, the unveiling of the new Audi A5 Sportback and the first
performance of Chinese star pianist Lang Lang on the Audi Design grand
Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, greeted an
array of famous personalities from the worlds of politics, industry, sport, culture
and science at the jubilee celebrations. The guests included the Prime Ministers
Horst Seehofer, Christian Wulff and Günther Oettinger, VDA President Matthias
Wissmann, basketball star Dirk Nowitzki, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge from FC
Bayern Munich and motor racing legends such as Jacky Ickx, Walter Röhrl,
Hans-Joachim Stuck and eight-time Le Mans champion Tom Kristensen.
“Just as a tree needs deep roots, a strong company needs an enduring
tradition,” emphasized Audi’s CEO, as he initially mapped out the multi-faceted
history of the carmaker in his address. Exactly 100 years ago to the day,
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automotive pioneer August Horch had founded August Horch Automobilwerke
GmbH in Zwickau, which he renamed a short time later by translating his
surname into Latin – and Audi Automobilwerke was born.
Stadler explained how the Company established its market reputation over the
decades that followed, through its pioneering spirit and visionary foresight,
securing itself a position among the leading pack of premium manufacturers. Yet
Audi’s people never let this success go to their heads. “We have kept our feet
firmly on the ground and continue to nurture the culture of a mid-corporate
business: a responsive, flexible, lean organization”, emphasized Stadler.
Looking to the future, Rupert Stadler also announced: “We will extend our
technological lead.” The Company is already concentrating on identifying the key
drive technology of the future. “In our opinion, hybrid technology will bridge the
gap and then electric drive will become increasingly important,” explained Audi’s
CEO. He quoted one example of the Company’s major commitment to this
cause: the “Electronic Performance” project being funded by the Federal Ministry
of Education and Research. Under its auspices, AUDI AG is planning to push
forward with the development of an all-electric car together with renowned
partners from the worlds of industry and research.
The new Audi A5 Sportback put in its first public appearance at the evening gala.
The sporty five-door model is already the third member of the A5 model family,
alongside the Coupé and the Cabriolet, and is notable for its successful blend of
elegance, comfort and everyday suitability. The new Audi model will go on sale
in Germany in September.
Rupert Stadler was joined by Angela Merkel in taking the wraps off the latest
member of Audi’s model family. “No matter how greatly the car of the future may
differ from today’s car, there will continue to be a desire for individual mobility all
over the world,” said Chancellor Merkel in her personal podcast on the Internet.
She underlined the fact that one of the most essential tasks in the future will be
to promote climate protection, energy efficiency and safety. “Audi and its 100-
year success story are therefore representative of other companies in the
automotive industry,” Merkel emphasized.
As an international ambassador of the Audi brand, it fell to Chinese star pianist
Lang Lang to stage the very first public performance on the new Audi Design
grand piano. This musical instrument, with its characteristically curvaceous body,
was designed by the Audi Design Studio in Munich and will be used as a concert
piano for future prestigious musical events.
The evening’s other cultural highlights included the spectacular illumination of
the Audi Forum by light artist Gerry Hofstetter and the first performance of a
symphony composed specially for the ceremony by music producer Leslie
Mandoki. The classical work was performed by the musicians of the New
Frankfurt Philharmonic, conducted by Paul Momberger. The evening gala at the
Audi Forum was hosted by television presenter Thomas Gottschalk.
Additional scheduled events for the Audi centenary
The evening gala is the opening event for a week of centennial celebrations for
Audi employees, as well as for the people of the regions around Ingolstadt and
Zwickau, where Audi was born. Die Fantastischen Vier, one of Germany’s most
popular hip-hop bands, will perform on stage in Ingolstadt on Friday, July 17 at
the “Audi Rocks 100” party. The four musicians from Stuttgart will sing live and
“unplugged” during their appearance at the Audi Forum – accompanied by a 60-
member international symphony orchestra. Singer Oceana will warm up the
crowd with her mixture of soul, reggae, funk and hip-hop, starting at 7 p.m.
The next day is completely devoted to motor sports: on Saturday, July 18, from
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Audi Tradition will send nearly every racecar used in the
course of the brand’s history for demonstration runs on the historic Donauring.
Cars set to travel the roughly 1.7-kilometer circuit through the center of
Ingolstadt include the Auto Union Type A and Type D double-compressor
racecars as well as the legendary Pikes Peak and racers from Le Mans and the
German Touring Car Masters (DTM). At the wheel will be racing legends such as
world rally champions Walter Röhrl and Hannu Mikkola, and Le Mans winners
Allan McNish, Marco Werner and Lucas Luhr. It all starts at 9 a.m., when the
gates to the paddocks will open at Ingolstadt’s Volksfestplatz.
On Sunday, July 19, Audi and the city of Ingolstadt invite the people of the
region to a classical concert in Ingolstadt’s Klenzepark. The performance of
the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra of Brno
will begin there at 7:30 p.m.; admission is free. The program includes
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and works by Johannes Brahms. The open-air
concert will conclude with fireworks set to classical and modern music, starting
at 10:30 p.m.
A special exhibit entitled “From Horch to Audi!” opens on Saturday, July 25, at
the August Horch Museum Zwickau. Various cars from the company’s history
will be presented there, at the site where the company’s founder created Audi
100 years ago. There will also be a birthday party for the whole family on the
same day from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Platz der Völkerfreundschaft in Zwickau.
Along with driving demonstrations featuring racecars like the Auto Union Silver
Arrow and various Audi quattro rally cars, plans include an autograph session
with Olympic ski jump champion Jens Weissflog. At the open-air concert that
evening, the bands My Excellence, SK 5, Alcazar and the Spider Murphy Gang
will take the stage.
The sporting highlight of the centennial festivities will take place on July 29-30 in
Munich’s Allianz Arena. At the invitation of AUDI AG, four top international
soccer teams will compete for the Audi Cup. At the tournament’s opening on
Wednesday, July 29, Manchester United will face Boca Juniors from Buenos
Aires (kick-off at 6:30 p.m.), and Bayern Munich will play AC Milan (8:45 p.m.).
The Audi Cup final begins on the following day at 8:45 p.m.; the game for third
place starts at 6:30 p.m.
Source: Audi AG