Vorsprung Durch Technik


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Vorsprung Durch Technik'?

The German phrase ‘vorsprung durch technik’ is usually translated into English as ‘progress through technology’.

A literal translation would be ‘advancement through technology’. There’s no single English word which is an exact equivalent of ‘vorsprung’ – ‘to leap ahead’ comes close.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Vorsprung Durch Technik'?

‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ originated
as an advertising strapline for Audi
cars.

This phrase has been used as a strapline in adverts for Audi cars since the 1980s, capitalizing on the German reputation for technical expertise.

It wasn’t initially coined to refer to an Audi car though. The phrase was first used in an advert for the futuristic NSU Ro 80 model, which was launched in 1967.

It’s probably fair that the expression is associated with Audi in most people’s minds. NSU was bought by the Volkswagen Group in 1969, who merged NSU with Auto Union, creating the company that eventually became Audi.

Of course, Audi is part of the VW group of companies and all their good work in establishing a reputation for technical quality was undone by the 2015 emissions scandal.

Trend of vorsprung durch technik in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.