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150th Anniversary NSU and Audi Neckarsulm site

The traditional NSU brand and Audi’s Neckarsulm site: 150 years of innovation and transformation

The traditional NSU brand is celebrating its birthday. In 1873, Christian Schmidt and Heinrich Stoll founded “Mechanische Werkstätte Schmidt & Stoll” in Riedlingen for the production of knitting machines, which later evolved into NSU Motorenwerke AG and ultimately into today’s Audi site in Neckarsulm. Even NSU’s name is closely associated with Neckarsulm, as the company name is derived from the city on the Neckar and Sulm rivers. NSU impressively demonstrates the development of mobility – from bicycles and motorcycles to automobiles.

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The traditional NSU brand and the Audi Neckarsulm site: 150 years of innovation and transformation

For its 150th anniversary, Audi Tradition is bringing out a number of NSU highlights from its historical vehicle collection. The special exhibition “Innovation, audacity and transformation”, a cooperation project between Audi Tradition and the German Bicycle and NSU Museum (Deutsches Zweirad- und NSU-Museum), is also under construction. The exhibition will be on display at the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm and at the German Bicycle and NSU Museum in Neckarsulm starting on June 14.

“Nicht mehr laufen, Quickly kaufen”: the NSU Quickly

To many, it is a cult classic: the Quickly. This moped marked the Neckarsulm-based traditional brand NSU’s commitment to make mobility possible for everyone in the early days of Germany’s Miracle on the Rhine; starting in 1953, the company began to make the switch to motorized mobility tempting to people with advertising slogans such as “Nicht mehr laufen, Quickly kaufen” (English: Instead of walking, buy a Quickly).

Futuristic, aerodynamic, stylish: The NSU Ro 80

Even the name is special: Ro 80 – Ro stands for rotary piston, and 80 is the type designation. When first unveiled at the IAA International Motor Show in September 1967, the NSU Ro 80 astonished the automotive world. NSU connoisseur Klaus Arth described it this way: “Many visitors don’t know what to admire first. 

“Drive a Prinz and you’re a king” – the NSU Prinz

The traditional NSU brand, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2023, represents transformation. This is best exemplified in the 1950s by the compact NSU Prinz. In 1955, NSU was the largest employer in the Neckarsulm region and the industry leader as the world’s largest manufacturer of two-wheeled vehicles. But demand for motorcycles was in decline: As prosperity grew, so did people’s desire for a “roof over their heads” – they wanted to drive cars. So NSU reinvented itself, launching a successful comeback as a car manufacturer with the NSU Prinz in 1958. In this first episode of the history of NSU, Audi Tradition presents “the Prince”.

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