Today, carmaker Audi is considered one of the most prominent automobile manufacturers in the world. Their name is synonymous with things like quality, stellar workmanship, and reliable performance. The truth is, this has been the way the car maker has been described for several years now, but it wasn't always that way. In its earlier days, this was a car company that was actually part of a larger conglomerate and by all accounts, the other three automobile manufacturers it was in business with largely carried it year after year. Things got even worse after World War II when supplies were in short demand and the economy wasn't that great. With that being said, Audi is now the only company left out of that original conglomerate of four automobile manufacturers. You might even say that a single car produced by the company, the Audi 5000, made it possible for this car company to become what it is today.
This is a car that debuted in the early 1980s, 1983 to be exact. By today's standards, it is considered plain and that's putting it nicely. In reality, most people considered it rather plain even when it was brand new, at least as far as its looks went. Despite that fact, this is a car that definitely caught on. It set the pace for the way all other automobiles that came after it would be built and it completely changed the face of automobile sales in the United States.
Aside from its exquisite handling and performance characteristics, the thing this car is best known for is that at the time it was built, it was considered the most aerodynamic car of its type. Even with that distinction, most people that were accustomed to reporting on such things weren't really fans of the car. It didn't have any fancy lines and there was nothing about its appearance that really set it apart from anything else. In fact, some people want as far as describing it as an aerodynamic box on wheels, thanks to its lack of design technique and sloped windshield. The car didn't even have any chrome on it, something that had been considered a standard up until that time. In its place was black rubberized trim, something that eventually came into existence on practically every automobile that was manufactured after this date.
The question is, how did the Audi 5000 come to define an entire car company, not to mention saving it from almost certain obscurity, if the people that were in the know were not all that crazy about the car to begin with? It's because every other car manufacturer took note of this particular automobile and began copying its design. It started with manufacturers of foreign automobiles. They took this design and used it on their relatively straightforward vehicles, creating a no-frills approach that was extremely economical at the same time. When American car companies saw how much success they were having with the technique, they started following suit. For years, practically every automobile that was on the road looked like it was copied from the Audi 5000, largely because that's exactly what happened.
The interesting thing is that sales of this particular automobile weren't even that great. Nevertheless, the Audi 5000 has its place in automobile history because of the way that it changed the face of car manufacturing. Even though this particular model wasn't that popular with drivers, the fact that everyone else started copying its design virtually guaranteed that Audi was going to be around for a long time to come. Today, their cars definitely look more advanced, as does every other automobile that rolls off the showroom floor. However, if it weren't for the Audi 5000, there's a very good chance that this car company might not even be in existence today.
It's a relatively rare occasion that an automobile manufacturer can trace its very survival back to a single model that was produced years ago, especially when that particular car wasn't that popular to begin with. As strange as it might seem, that's exactly what happened with Audi. Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of this is the fact that if you look at some of the Audi vehicles that are made today and then look at other automobile manufacturers’ products, it seems as though Audi is still setting the stage for the way a car should look and in some cases, even the way it should perform.
Written by Garrett Parker
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