NSU brand - 150 years of innovation and transformation

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The traditional NSU brand is celebrating its birthday. In 1873, Christian Schmidt and Heinrich Stoll founded “Mechanische Werkstätte Schmidt & Stoll” in Riedlingen for the production of knitting machines, which later evolved into NSU Motorenwerke AG and ultimately into today’s Audi site in Neckarsulm. Even NSU’s name is closely associated with Neckarsulm, as the company name is derived from the city on the Neckar and Sulm rivers. NSU impressively demonstrates the development of mobility – from bicycles and motorcycles to automobiles. For its 150th anniversary, Audi Tradition is bringing out a number of NSU highlights from its historical vehicle collection. The special exhibition “Innovation, audacity and transformation”, a cooperation project between Audi Tradition and the German Bicycle and NSU Museum (Deutsches Zweirad- und NSU-Museum), is also under construction. The exhibition will be on display at the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm and at the German Bicycle and NSU Museum in Neckarsulm starting on June 14.

Overview of the most important milestones: The history of NSU and Audi’s Neckarsulm site

1873 Christian Schmidt and Heinrich Stoll establish a factory to produce knitting machines in Riedlingen, on the Danube.
1880 The company relocates to Neckarsulm.
1886 Bicycle production begins.
1900 Motorcycle production begins
1906 Production of automobiles begins with the Original Neckarsulmer Motorwagen
1928Independent automobile production ends and the factory in Heilbronn is sold.
1933 Ferdinand Porsche commissions the construction of the NSU/Porsche Type 32, the VW Beetle’s predecessor.
1945 The plant is partially destroyed in World War II; production gradually resumes starting in mid-1945.
1955 NSU Werke AG becomes the biggest producer of two-wheelers in the world.
1958 Automobile production resumes with the NSU Prinz I to III.
1964 Production begins on the NSU Wankel Spider convertible, the world’s first production car with a rotary piston engine.
1967 Series production of the NSU Ro 80 sedan begins, which is voted Car of the Year for its futuristic design and rotary piston engine.
1969 Merger with Auto Union GmbH Ingolstadt to become AUDI NSU AUTO UNION AG; the majority shareholder is Volkswagen AG.
1974/75 The site is threatened with closure during the oil crisis. In the legendary March on Heilbronn in April 1975, the employees successfully fight to save the plant.
1975 To better utilize production capacity, contract manufacturing of the Porsche 924 begins; the Porsche 944 follows shortly thereafter.
1982 The Audi 100, manufactured in Neckarsulm, achieves a world-record drag coefficient of 0.30.
1985 The fully galvanized car body is introduced in the Audi 100 and Audi 200. The company is renamed AUDI AG and the headquarters are relocated to Ingolstadt.
1988 AUDI AG enters the full-size car class with production of the Audi V8.
1989 Introduction of the turbocharged diesel engine with direct fuel injection in a passenger vehicle, developed in Neckarsulm.
1994 Production starts on the Audi A8, the first series-production vehicle in the world with a completely aluminum body (ASF: Audi Space Frame).
2000 Production begins on the Audi A2, the first aluminum large-volume production car.
2001 Victory in Le Mans with FSI direct fuel injection, newly developed in Neckarsulm.
2005 The Audi Forum in Neckarsulm opens.
2006 Start of the production of the Audi R8 super sports car; first victory in the 24 hours of Le Mans with a diesel engine developed in Neckarsulm.
2007 The first production turntable is established between the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants with the start of production of the Audi A4 Sedan.
2008 The new Audi toolmaking shop is inaugurated.
2011 Audi acquires a 230,000-square-meter plot at the Böllinger Höfe industrial park in Heilbronn (more plots acquired in 2014 and 2018).
2012 The Technical Center for Fiber-Reinforced Polymers and the new Engine Test Center are inaugurated.
2013 Audi Neckarsulm receives the J.D. Power Award as Best Production Plant in Europe.
2014 The Logistics Center and R8 production are inaugurated at Audi’s Böllinger Höfe.
2016New Audi A8 production buildings are constructed.
2017 The Fuel Cell Competence Center is opened.
2018 The Technical Center for the Testing of Aluminum Materials is inaugurated at Audi’s Böllinger Höfe.
2019 An MEA Technical Center (functional layer systems) for fuel cell development is established; the cross-site Mission:Zero environmental program begins with measures for decarbonization, sustainable water use, resource efficiency and biodiversity.
2020 Production of the fully electric Audi e-tron GT quattro1 begins.
2021 Automotive Initiative 2025 (AI25): A network of expertise for the digital transformation of vehicle production and logistics is established; a competence center for high-voltage batteries is established.
2022Production is optimized for electromobility, including modernization of existing buildings and the groundbreaking ceremony for the new paint shop.
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