Bavarian Motor Works or BMW is a multinational car and motorcycle manufacturer that was founded in Germany in 1916. Since then, BMW has come a long way and became one of the most renowned sports, family, and luxury car manufacturers today. BMW started as an aircraft manufacturer, and they used to work with Austro Daimler and Gustav Otto. Today, BMW is the twelfth largest producer of motor vehicles, and cars under the brands Mini and Rolls-Royce are marketed under their brand. In this article, we are going to talk about the essential events in BMW history that gave them the status they have today.
Important Events in BMW
After BMW gained considerable success in the airplane industry, they decided to rename the company from Rapp Motorenwerke to BayerischeMotoren Werke GmbH. It was also during this time when Franz Josef Popp was appointed to be the supervisor of airplane engines. After a few weeks, the company assigned Max Friz to be their designer of airplanes, and they also created a new aircraft engine called BMW Illa. Not long after that, the company became popularly known as BMW, and they decided to launch a new logo. This is now the famous blue and white emblem that we see today.
But in 1918, BMW was forced to stop its production of aircraft engines. That’s why in 1923, they eventually shifted to manufacturing motorcycles. They soon realized that they have huge potential when it comes to producing cars. That’s why in 1928, they released their first car, which they called the BMW Dixi.
In the 1930s, BMW launched a new vehicle called the Wartburg DA3, which became incredibly successful. After that, BMW attempted to introduce a new front axle on their Wartburg and Dixi models. However, due to construction faults, their prototypes ended up in a series of accidents. BMW managed to get back in the game and released the 303, which used their new M78 engine.
Throughout the ‘30s, BMW released newer models of the 303, including the 320, 327, 326, 329, and the most popular 328 Brescia Grand Prix. However, because of the impending war, BMW started to manufacture military vehicles. After the war, BMW re-entered the automobile industry and launched the 501 series, which became the first car BMW released since the war.
In 1954, the company released its most popular car of all time, the BMW 502 V8 super. The vehicle allowed BMW to enhance its reputation all around the world. Two years after that, BMW launched its muscle 507 car, which became its largest money earner during that time.
The ‘60s proved an incredibly successful era for BMW. This is the time when BMW became so popular that its production plant in Munich could not handle the production and consumer demands. That’s why in 1967, they opened a new and larger production plant in Berlin, wherein they also manufactured motorcycles. When the 1970s came, BMW started to make its vehicles in South Africa.
After a few years, BMW Motorsport GmbH was launched, and they also established their very own museum of aircraft engines and traditional cars. It was also during the ‘70s when the company began its 5 series, 7 series, 3 series, and 6 series cars, which is still up in production until today.
BMW started its production in Regensburg in the 1980s, and they were operating efficiently all throughout the world during this time. When the ‘90s came, BMW managed to infiltrate the US and soon bought the British Rover Group. This means they were able to buy the active Land Rover, Rover, as well as MINI brands under BMW ownership. This came with the rights of several dormant marques such as Triumph, Wolseley, Austin, Riley, and Morris.
In the 2000s, BMW took over Rolls-Royce and MINI, wherein they launched their popular 1 series. Not long after that, BMW was able to establish a plant in Shenyang and created a joint-venture with China. In 2013, BMW launched its all-new I3, which started its era when it comes to electric vehicles.
The iconic circular white and blue BMW emblem that we see today came from the circular Rapp Motorenwerke company logo wherein the BMW company came from. They combine the white and blue colors of the flag of Bavaria. The BMW logo that was created in 1917 is still used today, and it has gone through several minor changes throughout the years.
Some stories say that the origin of the logo is a portrayal of the movement of an aircraft propeller wherein the white blades are cutting through a blue sky. This portrayal was also used in a BMW advertisement in 1929, twelve years after the logo was designed.