BMW enjoys one of the most stellar reputations in the automotive industry today. As a brand widely associated with class and luxury, it is recognized in all corners of the world and commands authority and respect on the global stage. Its current reputation, however, belies its more modest past and relatively obscure origins. Fans of BMW today may be curious to know where this company is from and exactly how it came to be one of the top players in international corporate arena.
BMW: A Brief History
Bavarian Motor Works, or Bayerische Motoren Werke AG in German, is a company that pre-dates World War I. In fact, it was first founded as Rapp Motorenwerke GmbH in 1913 and functioned as an aircraft engine manufacturer before it was restructured in 1918 and became BMW. Because of the Versailles Armistice Treaty, BMW was no longer permitted to make and market aircraft engines. Instead, it turned its attention to manufacturing motorcycles and by the late 1920s to automobiles. The first car that the company manufactured was called the Dixi.
From its inception, however, it has remained headquartered in Munich, Bavaria in Germany. As the capital of Bavaria, Munich is the third largest city in the country and sits just north of the scenic Bavarian Alps. Home to more than 5 million people, Munich is also known in Germany and throughout the European Union as a center of commerce, finance, and industry. Along with BMW, it is home to companies like Siemens and Linde AG.
Munich is also famous worldwide for its festive and warm culture. It welcomes millions of tourists each year to the city as it celebrates Oktoberfest, which is held during the month of September until the first Sunday in October. During the rest of the year, people travel to Munich to visit sites like the Hofbrauhaus am Platzl, a famous beer hall that sits in the heart of the city.
With its embrace of commerce and freethinking, it is little wonder why BMW continues to make Munich its home. It remained in the city throughout World War II during which it designed and made aircraft engines for the German Luftwaffe. After the war, the company experienced devastating financial losses. Rather than go out of business, however, it resolved to rebuild and reinvent itself as the maker of compact cars. It obtained the rights to the Italian car known as the Iso Isetta. From that point, it made a name for itself as the premier maker of small yet sporty cars.
BMW's post-war recovery reached a pinnacle when in 1992 it staked a claim in the California-based company DesignWorks. Around the same time, it obtained the rights to the Rover British car group. It retained those rights and made Rover cars until 2000 when it sold the group to another entity. In 2007, it obtained the rights to the Husqvarna brand of motorcycles. It continues to make them as well as a full array of its own brand of automobiles today.
From the early 1920s until now, BMW has created and manufactured dozens of automobiles, all of which were appreciated for their design and speed. In 2012, Forbes Magazine gave BMW the distinction of being the most reputable company in the world. Its reputation and brand recognition continue to be strengthened by the variety and style of cars that it makes available to the public.
Despite being headquartered in Munich, BMW makes its cars in locations throughout the world. It has manufacturing plants and subsidiaries in the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, and several other countries. The brand increasingly is becoming popular for its single lines of cars, such as its BMW 3 Series, which was introduced in 2012 and continues to be manufactured today.
The BMW 3 Series of cars is made in Germany, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, and at several other international plants. These small four and five-door sedans are designed for lengthy road trips and touring and are famous for their luxurious interiors and turbocharged engines. Until 2016, BMW utilized four-cylinder engines in the 3 series. In 2016, however, it began making them with three-cylinder engines.
BMW is also famous for its 4 Series line of cars. This line hit the market in 2013 and continues to be manufactured today. It features cars like the BMW F32 Coupe, the Concept M4 Coupe, and the Gran Coupe. This line of vehicles has a wheelbase that is 50 millimeters longer than the 3 series line of cars. It also comes with notable features like full LED lighting, double swage lines under the windows on the sides, and L-shaped rear lighting. The cars in this series come with either petrol or diesel engines. They are made entirely in Germany.
Since 1972, BMW has been involved in the design and manufacturing of prototypes and concept cars. In March 2016, it unveiled its Vision Next 100 concept car in London. This concept model offers a wide variety of virtual technology, notwithstanding its road monitoring capabilities and flexible OLED displays. It also is designed with a streamlined body with retractable wheels and talon-like front headlights. The Vision Next 100 joins other recent BMW concept cars like the Concept X5 eDrive and the Vision Future Luxury Concept car, which could potentially be the flagship car of the brand's 9 series.
The Future of BMW
BMW continues to carve a name for itself in areas not previously ventured by other car brands. It recently introduced a modest yet innovative line of kids' bicycles, which are sold primarily in the U.S.
It also partnered recently with a company called Sixt to launch its own carsharing service, DriveNow. DriveNow utilizes more than 1000 cars and functions in five cities. BMW also began offering a service called ReachNow, a branch of DriveNow, in Seattle.
BMW remains one of the most noteworthy and respectable car brands in the world. It continues to make Munich, Germany its home as it designs, manufactures, and sells cars in every corner of the globe.