Audi celebrates 40 years of Vorsprung durch Technik

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Advancement through Technology, 40 years later – Click above for high-res image gallery

Forty years ago, the slogan "Vorsprung durch Technik" was used by Audi as part of campaign to gain publicity in Germany. In 1983, British advertising agency BBH used the term in a spot for Audi's United Kingdom-based advertising arm. The German phrase means "Advancement through Technology," and those three words have come to serve as the automaker's motto.

The term actually dates back to 1971, when Audi was looking for a way to describe its NSU line. Now, 40 years later, Audi continues to apply the phrase to its ever-evolving fleet of vehicles. Check out a bit of the phrase's history by clicking through the gallery below. Also, be sure to read through the full press release, which is posted after the jump.
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Now synonymous phrase reaches its 40th anniversary in 2011 and is just as pertinent as ever

'Vorsprung durch Technik' tagline, which is synonymous with Audi values, was first used by the brand in Germany in 1971
Advertising agency BBH brought the slogan to the brand's UK advertising in 1983

'Vorsprung durch Technik' is 40 years young in 2011, and the sentiment in the famous motto – which translates as 'advancement through technology' – encapsulates the Audi philosophy just as perfectly now as it did way back in 1971.

In that year the famous slogan made its debut in a German publicity campaign. It was first used by Audi in its UK advertising in 1983, and at a time when the origins of the nascent brand weren't widely known here, London-based advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) is credited with realising its potential as a means of emphasising German quality and engineering integrity.

Today, it is not only indelibly linked to the brand, but also one of very few 'foreign' phrases to have become firmly ingrained in British popular culture. It can be heard in everything from tracks by Blur and U2 to films such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

The classic BBH television ad which gave birth to this star of screen and sound bite made the link between the now iconic Audi quattro and the permanent all-wheel-drive system that made it more agile on the road than a glider in the air.

But the phrase is rooted in the pioneering innovations and technical leadership the brand was already synonymous with long before this point.

The newly-formed Audi NSU range was so impressively diverse – it included rear-engined, air-cooled NSU 2- and 4-cylinder cars, front-wheel-drive Audi models with 4-cylinder water-cooled engines, the lightweight Audi 100 and the aerodynamically wedge-shaped and rotary-engined Ro 80 – that a unifying brand claim was needed to epitomise what all models had in common. 'Vorsprung durch Technik' united the new range and summed up the brand's philosophy in one.

The Audi range of today, and tomorrow, is just as deserving of the phrase. It spans virtually every category from city-friendly sub-compact hatchback, via leading edge saloons and Avants, steamlined Sportbacks and agile SUVs through to the world renowned R8 super car. All 32 models in the current line-up are characterised by advanced technology, be it in the construction process as in the lightweight aluminium and steel hybrid-bodied TT or all-aluminium R8, in remarkable engines such as the award-winning 2.5-litre five-cylinder TFSI or in innovative features such as all-LED lighting, head-up displays, MMI with Google mapping functionality and in-car WLAN internet connectivity.

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