First Audi 80 unveiled 50 years ago

  • 1972: Audi 80 is launched and becomes “Car of the Year”
  • Bestseller in series production: More than 12.5 million B1 to B9 (Audi 80 and Audi A4 models) produced to date
  • Oliver Hoffmann, Head of Technical Development: “The Audi 80 shows that Vorsprung durch Technik is a tradition at Audi”

A bestseller is celebrating its anniversary: With the first Audi 80, known internally as the “B1”, the Ingolstadt-based company hits the bull’s eye in 1972. It is intended to be “modern, but not trendy,” a reliable family car. On this, then Head of Technical Development at Audi Ludwig Kraus and Volkswagen AG, the new parent company, agree in the late 1960s. As in racecar construction, head developer Ludwig Kraus has his employees check every part to see where weight could still be reduced without compromising on long-term quality, solidity, and strength. The extremely lightweight Audi 80, which goes into production 50 years ago, impresses customers with its sporty handling and low consumption, making it, at the start of the 1973 oil crisis, exactly the right car at the right time. Winning “Car of the Year” the same year, the Audi 80 also wins over the international trade press.