Auto Union is best known for the remarkable grand prix cars that wore the four ringed badge in the 1930s. The
(Audi didn't start working on AWD until the late '70s) monsters were designed by Ferdinand Porsche (the original) for the company born of the merger of Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer. That same Dr. Porsche, of course, is publicly credited (although disputed) with developing the original Volkswagen. Eventually, all of Auto Union but the Audi brand faded away by the late 1960s, but the VW-owned company retained the icon.
Complete integration (or assimilation) of the companies is expected by late 2011 with current VW CEO Martin Winterkorn at the helm.
In yet another strange twist of fate to the whole Porsche buys Volkswagen buys Porsche saga, the Auto Union name could end up being revived as a name for a combined company. The two companies have reportedly come to terms on a value for what the car business of Porsche AG is worth and a deal could soon be consummated. The VW supervisory board is expected to meet today to decide on moving forward with an acquisition valued at €8-11 billion.