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The acronym DKW initially meant, because the first products manufactured by the company were small steam (later gasoline) engines; they also started to produce toys afterwards and the meaning of the acronym was changed to . Another version of the name was adapted for motorcycles they had produced: . This name has remained over time and has appeared in several promotional texts of the brand around the world.
In 1921, the brand started producing motorcycles, and automobiles in 1928.
In 1932, DKW teamed up with 3 other car manufacturing companies to form Auto Union.
DKW became defunct in 1966, yet Auto Union continued to be a union of the four brands until 1969.
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