Saturday 7th May 1927
The first DKW production automobile was completed. The company and brand is one of the ancestor companies of the modern day Audi company as one of the four companies that formed Auto-Union.
In 1916, Danish engineer Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen founded a factory in Zschopau, Saxony, Germany, to produce steam fittings. That year he attempted to produce a steam-driven car, called the DKW. Although unsuccessful, he made a two-stroke toy engine in 1919, called Des Knaben Wunsch – “the boy’s wish”. He put a slightly modified version of this engine into a motorcycle and called it Das Kleine Wunder – “the little wonder” the initials from this becoming the DKW brand: by the late 1920s, DKW was the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer.
In 1932, DKW merged with Audi, Horch and Wanderer to form Auto Union. After World War II, DKW moved to West Germany, with the original factory becoming MZ. Auto Union came under Daimler-Benz ownership in 1957 and was purchased by the Volkswagen Group in 1964. The last German-built DKW car was the F102, which ceased production in 1966. Its successor, the four-stroke F103, was marketed under the Audi brand, another Auto Union marque.
DKW-badged cars continued to be built under license in Brazil and Argentina until 1967 and 1969 respectively. The DKW trademark is currently owned by Auto Union GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Audi AG which also owns the rights to other historical trademarks and intellectual property of the Auto Union combine.