Audi 50

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Audi 50
Audi 50.jpg
Audi 50 in the Audi Forum, Ingolstadt
Overview
Manufacturer Audi NSU Auto Union AG
Production 1974-1978
180,812 built[1]
Assembly Neckarsulm, Germany[original research?]
Designer Claus Luthe
Body and chassis
Class Supermini
Body style 3-door hatchback
Layout transverse front engine,
front-wheel drive
Platform Volkswagen Group A01
Related Volkswagen Polo Mk1
Powertrain
Engine 0.9 (L), 1.1 (LS) or 1.3 (GLS) L OHC I4
Transmission 4-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,335 mm (91.9 in)
Length 3,510 mm (138.2 in)
Width 1,560 mm (61.4 in)
Height 1,340 mm (52.8 in)
Chronology
Predecessor NSU Prinz
Successor Audi A1[2]

The Audi 50 (known internally as the Typ 86) is a supermini economy car produced by German automaker Audi from 1974 to 1978 and sold only in Europe. Introduced two or three years after the Italian Fiat 127 and the French Renault 5, the model was seen at the time as Germany's first home grown entrant in Europe's emerging "supermini" class.[3]

The Audi 50 was built by Audi NSU Auto Union AG at the former NSU factory in Neckarsulm, Germany and at the giant Wolfsburg plant by Volkswagen.[4] The car was rebadged six months later by Volkswagen as the Volkswagen Polo with a wider range of engine and other options.[5] The Volkswagen Polo was launched in the home market in September 1974[3] and appeared in export markets, including the UK, a few months later.

The car was offered as a three-door hatchback with a 1,093 cc (66.7 cu in) petrol engine, producing either 37 kW (50 PS; 50 bhp) or 44 kW (60 PS; 59 bhp) for the LS and GL models, respectively. The model was popular in Europe, both because of its generous specifications for a car of the time, and on account of its relatively low price.

The Volkswagen and Audi badged models were sold alongside each other for 3 years until 1978, but the cheaper Volkswagen Polo outsold the Audi 50, and Audi discontinued the Audi 50 in 1978, after a total production of 180,812 units.[3] A planned facelift which would have given the Audi 50 a look closer to that of the Audi 100 and Audi 80 was never implemented because of a holding company board decision that the Audi brand should concentrate on larger, more expensive cars.

The Volkswagen Polo range continued to evolve, with the Volkswagen Derby notchback version, despite being developed by Audi at Ingolstadt, branded as a Volkswagen and launched in 1977. Subsequently the Volkswagen Polo has evolved through numerous generations to the present day.

The Audi 50 had no replacement in the supermini class until the launch of the significantly larger Audi A2 in 1999 which was also discontinued in 2005.

In 2010, the Audi 50 was spiritually succeeded by the Audi A1.[2]

Audi 50 GLS - rear view


References[edit]

  1. ^ Werner Oswald: Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, vol. 4, ISBN 3-613-02131-5, p. 263
  2. ^ a b "Audi A1 vs Audi 50". http://www.autoexpress.co.uk. Auto Express. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Oldtimer Katalog. Nr. 23. Königswinter: HEEL Verlag GmbH. 2009. pp. Seite 44 u. 358. ISBN 978-3-86852-067-5. 
  4. ^ "A History of Audi: The 1970s". audi.co.uk. Audi. Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  5. ^ "News: Audi 50". Autocar. 141 (nbr4065): page 29. 21 September 1974.