A 100-year run in the auto business is no small accomplishment, and Audi is planning to make the most of that momentous event with a week-long party at its home in Ingolstadt. Now a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, it was originally established on July 16, 1909 by German auto pioneer, August Horch. Since then, the firm has survived numerous challenges and corporate merges/transformations to emerge as one of the worlds most highly regarded purveyors of premium vehicles and advanced automotive technologies. The kickoff of this centennial was a gala evening at the Audi Forum Ingolstadt. It featured a panoply of high-profile personalities from the fields of politics, science, industry, culture, and sports that ran the gamut from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Audi race aces, including former World Rally Champion Walter Rohrl, legendary master of the original Quattro coupe and eight-time Le Mans winner, Tom Kristensen.

Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management Audi AG, who hosted the opening event noted: "One look at the guest list tells you the kind of prestige Audi has acquired in its 100-year history. July 16 not only gives us a reason to celebrate -- it also provides motivation for all Audi employees to continue writing the company's success story on into the future." One of the highlights of the evening was the unveiling a new A5 Sportback model. Based on the A5 sedan, this elegant four-door boasts a sweeping roofline and will be aimed at the Mercedes-Benz CLS and new BMW 5 Series GT. On sale in Europe this September, Audi says there are no plans to bring it to the U.S. at this time.

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