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DKW (Auto Union), an empress as ambassador

Once upon a time, a young actress became the unforgettable Sissi and the ambassador of a popular car brand: DKW, nicknamed Das Kleine Wunder (the little wonder).

Actress Romy Schneider was not yet born when Danish engineer Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen opened her company doors in 1917. The brand then produced motorcycles and cars for the working class.

At the end of the 1920s, the iconic model was the P15, a car produced in roadster and convertible versions powered by astonishing mechanics. It was a 2-stroke 3-cylinder engine dubbed “3 = 6”. This curious name was based on the power of the engine, which was equal to that of a 6-cylinder 4-stroke (around 30 horsepower). A roundabout way of telling your competition that it’s not the number of cylinders that makes the power.

The beginning of the 1930s was particularly difficult for German manufacturers. DKW, Audi, Wanderer and Horch make very different cars, ranging from the simple DKW to the Horch limousines. Under pressure from the banks, the 4 brands therefore agreed to merge in 1932 to become “Auto Union”. A logo made up of 4 intertwined rings would permanently seal this association while preserving the identity of each of the brands. This logo, you know it of course, it is today that of Audi, only survivor of this adventure and which will return to the business in 1964 under the protection of Volkswagen.

Romy Schneider embodies freshness, youth, elegance and beauty.

But let’s go back to the 1950s, to 1955 to be precise, when the young actress Romy Schneider, then aged 17, bursts the screen in her role as Sissi. At the same time, DKW seeks to rejuvenate its image. Romy Schneider embodies freshness, youth, elegance and beauty, she seems perfect to play her own role as an active and independent young woman driving a DKW, of course! She will pose many times in the company of this sympathetic German and will even appear on the stand of the manufacturer at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1957. But despite the efforts of Romy, the firm DKW will end its activity in 1966.

Written by

Motard de presse, journaliste moto et life style, “Dominique” a plus d’un million de kilomètres au compteur. Après 15 années de journalisme dans l’univers du luxe où il s’est imprégné du savoir-faire des grandes marques en termes d’organisation.

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