This German company had started in 1873 as a knitting machine manufacturer but by 1892 the production of sewing tools was totally replaced by bicycles and, later on, by motorcycles and automobiles. Becoming the part of Volkswagen Group in 1969, NSU was merged with another German brand, Auto Union. In 1985 the name Audi NSU Auto Union AG was shortened giving the rise to a now-famous car brand, Audi AG. Unfortunately the NSU marque itself no longer exists.
Despite their inspiring design NSU cars never managed to challenge other competitors on the German market and the marque has been defunct since 1977. Nevertheless, the brand is notable among the enthusiasts of German classic cars. Probably what NSU is most famous for is introducing the rotary engines created by Felix Wenkel. Uncomplicated design, smoothness and quiet performance were key features of the rotary engine technology which lured many car companies, e.g. Mazda, to get the licence from NSU. The first Wenkel-engined car released by NSU, and the first rotary powered vehicle in the world, was the 1964 NSU Spider, a small two-passenger convertible designed by an Italian stylist, Bertone. Other NSU car which was ahead of its time is the 1967 NSU Ro 80, a sedan with the 113 bhp twin-rotor engine and other technical advances of the time such as a vacuum-operated semi-automatic transmission.