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August Horch

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August Horch was born on October 12th of 1868. His father was a blacksmith, and his mother a homemaker. Horch studied Engineering at Mittweida College—graduating in 1890. Horch’s experience in the automobile world began while working for Karl Benz. From 1896 to 1899 Horch was the manager of the Motor Car Construction Department for Karl Benz in Mannheim, Germany. This initial experience prepared August for his first startup. In 1899 August founded Horch & Cie. The company started as a small repair shop. It was in 1901 when Horch & Cie. built their first automobile. The company moved locations a few times, always in Germany, ultimately settling in Zwickau.

Horch left Horch & Cie. in 1909 after irreconcilable differences. Shortly after, in 1910, Horch founded Audi. He was ready for a new car factory endeavor. Horch could no longer use his surname as a company name, as his first company had already claimed the name, so he got a little creative. Using the Latin translation for “Horch”, Audi came to be. Horch and Audi are acclaimed for many achievements such as creating Germany’s first four-cycle engine. He was also credited with pioneering implementation of light alloy metals in vehicle production. He advocated for left-hand driving in all of their cars, too. The vision for Audi was driver friendliness.

August Horch retired in 1920. He went on to serve on the Supervisory Board of the Auto Union AG. He has been honored with the Badge of Honor by the Association of German Engineers, and many more other awards. Horch passed away in 1951 in Muenchberg, Germany. He was survived by his wife, Else Kolmar Horch.

Companies and Investments

Audi (Founder), Horch & Cie (Founder), Benz & Company (Factory Manager)

Lessons Learned

Settling for just enough does not cut it. It does not cut it in the business world, and it definitely does not cut it in vehicle design. We must strive for the best possible performance. Sometimes this means being able to identify potential failures and successes—ultimately knowing when to cut your losses. Learning this can be an experience of trial and errors, but once you master how to evaluate your work you will be able to better perform. I found this true when I left behind my first company, knowing I could do better with a fresh start. I also know this with designing automobiles. Sometimes a design is great, and other times the idea is better left behind. Learning this balance will help you succeed as an entrepreneur.

Inspiring Quotes

August Horch's Quotes

Any car that merely takes you from A to B does not go far enough.

August Horch

This is doing the impossible.

August Horch

Influential Books

August Horch - Das Auto, mein Leben: Von August Horch bis heute (German Edition)


Karl Horch