The European Patent Office has named AUDI AG European Inventor of the Year. The honor is bestowed on companies whose ideas have made significant contributions to Europe's economic growth and competitiveness. Audi was recognized for the invention of Audi Space Frame technology (ASF).

Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission, honored the winners. "The European Inventors of the Year 2008 have developed true innovations." The award, which has now been presented for the third time, is intended to promote Europe's image as the "Continent of Innovations."

"The award is a testament to our lead in lightweight aluminum design technology, an area that is so important for the automobile industry," says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. Competing in the "Industry" category, the ASF technology of the brand with the four rings was named the winner over competitors' patents.

Heinrich Timm, Head of the Aluminum and Lightweight Design Center at Audi, and Norbert Enning, co-inventor of the ASF concept, accepted the Inventor of the Year award in Ljubljana. "With Audi Space Frame technology, Audi opened up a new dimension in lightweight automotive design," says Timm. The Audi Space Frame results in a car body that is not only stronger and safer than a steel body, but also significantly lighter. "This is a central aspect for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions," says Enning.

Audi Space Frame – lightweight aluminum design with decisive advantages The Audi Space Frame was first presented to the world public at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in 1993 as the body of an Audi A8. The ASF is a high-strength aluminum frame structure into which the panels are integrated so that they also perform a load-bearing function. The Audi Space Frame comprises a complex structure of extruded profiles and cast nodes. Together these result in a car body with very high stiffness and a vehicle offering above-average crash protection. The ASF design enables significant weight savings, improved handling and lower fuel consumption. The Audi A8, the Audi TT Coupé, the TT Roadster, the Audi R8 and the Lamborghini Gallardo are all equipped with Audi Space Frame technology.

Norbert Enning – co-inventor of the Audi Space Frame Norbert Enning, 51, is one of Audi's most inventive employees. Enning and his team developed ASF technology under the leadership of Heinrich Timm in the early 80s. "The body of the Audi A8 utilizing the ASF principle is one of the lightest in the luxury class," says Enning. Since joining Audi in 1982, the graduate mechanical engineer has made inventions in the areas of pedestrian protection and interior appointments in addition to his numerous inventions relating to the ASF design. Enning is currently engaged in the predevelopment of vehicle concepts.