Either love it or hate it, but you simply just can’t ignore it. It is next to impossible to not turn one’s head on the road, when BMW passes by. Cars manufactured by this auto brand are phenomenal. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG or BMW is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company that was established in 1916. Along with Mercedes-Benz and Audi, BMW is a part of the “German Big 3”, which are the three best-selling luxury car makers in the world. The company manufactures cars and motorbikes under three premium brands: BMW, MINI and Rolls Royce.
It’s no secret that technology BMW uses in its vehicles are always a step above than its counterparts in every plausible way. From the automaker of such stature, it is quite obvious to expect definite build quality and superior engineering. BMW started as an aircraft manufacturing company, and later became one of the world’s foremost automakers. So, let’s read on how all this happened starting with the history of the company.
The history of BMW goes back in 1913 when there was huge demand for aircrafts. In October 1913, Karl Friedrich Rapp establishes “Rapp-Motorenwerke” in a former bicycle factory near Munich. Despite the need for aircraft engines, the sale of the factory declined due to a reliability flaw. Close to Rapp´s factory, Gustav Otto, the son of the inventor and industrialist Nikolaus August Otto, sets up an aircraft factory, Gustav Otto Flugmaschinefabrik, which was renamed Otto Werke in January 1915. In 1916, Rapp’s company received a contract to produce 25 large V12 aircraft engines, but due to issues of engine reliability they purchased four-cylinder water-cooled aircraft engines from the Gustav Otto factory. In the following months Otto’s company also failed. So, as a mutual benefit for both the companies Gustav Otto´s Company merged with Rapp’s company to form ‘Bayerische Flugzeug Werke’ or BFW, in English ‘Bavarian Aircraft Works’. On 7th march 1916, soon after the merge, the company name changed into ‘Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH’ or BMW.
The company’s first aircraft engine, Type IIIa, a water-cooled six-cylinder inline engine goes production in 1917. In 1918, this engine powered a biplane to 5,000 meters altitude in just 29 minutes, which increased the demand for BMW engines. And the following year the company became BMW AG. In 1919, after the end of First World War agreement was signed, the Allies prohibited German military to produce aircraft engines. Therefore, BMW shifted to the production of boat and truck engines and farming equipment. In 1923, the company entered in the production of motorcycles and the same year manufactured its first motorcycle, the R 32. BMW produces motorcycles under BMW Motorrad. The first car successfully manufactured by BMW was the Dixi in 1929 that was based on Austin 7 and licensed from the Austin Motor Company in Birmingham, England.
In 1936, the company started the production of the BMW328 sports car. Until Second World War, aircraft engines, motorcycles, automobiles were the main products of the company. For several years after the war, the company was not allowed to manufacture anything, but in early 50s with the launch of BMW 501 followed by 502 that was powered by the world’s first light-alloy V8, the brand showed its commitment to the technology. BMW’s Isetta a small two-seat micro car became the best-selling BMW of that decade. Throughout the 70s, the company opened many new plants, bringing larger-scale production, with creation of the pioneering turbo engines used in mass-production. The company soon entered in F1 racing, and won the 1983 Formula One World Championship. In mid 90s, BMW entered in the partnership with Rolls-Royce and continued its research and development of aircraft engines along with its work on gas turbines. In the year 1992, BMW acquired large stake in California based industrial design studio Designed Works USA and owned it completely in 1995. In 1994, BMW acquired the Rover Group for six years and later launched the MINI series in 2001.
The company was hit by the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) like the rest of the automobile companies, but emerged strongly from the recession. BMW even reported the best results in its history in the year 2010. Today, from the BMW assembly lines in the U.S. alone, almost 300,000 vehicles roll off every year. Over the years, BMW has gone from boxy sedans to sleek, speedy vehicles. Along with the car’s manufacturing sector, motorcycles line of the company is also among the world finest. There are eight assembly plants where BMW vehicles are manufactured- four in Germany, two in China, one in South Africa and a complex in Spartanburg. All crossover models of BMWs are manufactured at Spartanburg plant which was opened in 1995.
This German automaker always aims at achieving excellence in everything they do, i.e. service, product quality, customer relationships, product and brand recognition. When talking about BMW success, one cannot neglect the product variation offered by the brand. The secret to the company’s success is variety. BMW vehicles always come in amazing range of sizes, body styles, and engines that separate them from their competitor such as Audi, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz. The 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, X, Z4, M series, all are different and each have their own unique characteristic. There’s hardly any person that gets bored with BMW vehicles.
In comparison to other luxury car makers, BMW is an independent firm in its business that gives the company a little edge over other makers. For example, Mercedes-Benz is a part of Daimler Chrysler. The company’s persistence, great deal of sensitivity helped it in achieving the place in the market. BMW is the world’s one of the leading automaker when it comes to blending performance and luxury. Throughout its journey, the brand has delivered some of the unique, finest vehicles.
In 1916, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG emerged as an automobile company after the merger of two companies. The German automaker is not known by many at that time, but soon with its design and technology it became one of the world’s most valuable brands and a top seller of luxury vehicles. BMW started out with the production of aircraft engines followed by motorcycles and then automobiles. The company’s advertising slogan describes its vehicles as “the ultimate driving machine” and in reality they stand true to it. Over the years, the brand with its vehicles has become the standard for performance and luxury.
The automobile industry of the world is constantly working to bring out new technologies, either they are for safety, fun, or just for pure innovation. Speed and organizational agility are important factors of the auto industry and like other automakers BMW should also gear up their innovations to avoid being overtaken by other automakers.