BMW is an acronym for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG -- or, in English, Bavarian Motor Works. Whatever you call it, the German-based company is one of the world's most respected automakers, renowned for crafting luxury cars and SUVs that offer superior levels of driving enjoyment. Founded in Munich, the company began in the early 1910s as an aircraft manufacturer. BMW's current logo, designed to represent white propeller blades against a blue sky, reflects these origins; its blue-and-white color scheme also references Bavaria's blue-and-white checkered flag. BMW is part of the "German Big 3" luxury automakers, along with Audi and Mercedes-Benz, which are the three best selling luxury automakers in the world.
BMW was established as a business entity following a restructuring of the Rapp Motorenwerke aircraft manufacturing firm in 1917. After the end of World War I in 1918, BMW was forced to cease aircraft engine production by the terms of the Versailles Armistice Treaty. The company consequently shifted to motorcycle production in 1923, once the restrictions of the treaty started to be lifted, followed by automobiles in 1928-29.The first car which BMW successfully produced and the car which launched BMW on the road to automobile production was the Dixi, it was based on the Austin 7 and licensed from the Austin Motor Company in Birmingham, England.
BMW's first significant aircraft engine was the BMW IIIa inline-six liquid-cooled engine of 1918, much preferred for its high-altitude performance. With German rearmament in the 1930s, the company again began producing aircraft engines for the Luftwaffe. Among its successful World War II engine designs were the BMW 132 and BMW 801 air-cooled radial engines, and the pioneering BMW 003 axial-flow turbojet, which powered the tiny, 1944-1945-era jet-powered "emergency fighter", the Heinkel He 162 Spatz. The BMW 003 jet engine was tested in the A-1b version of the world's first jet fighter, the Messerschmitt Me 262, but BMW engines failed on takeoff, a major setback for the Emergency Fighter Program until successful testing with Junkers engines.
By the year 1959, the automotive division of BMW was in financial difficulties and a shareholders meeting was held to decide whether to go into liquidation or find a way of carrying on. It was decided to carry on and to try to cash in on the current economy car boom enjoyed so successfully by some of Germany's ex-aircraft manufacturers such as Messerschmitt and Heinkel. The rights to manufacture the Italian Iso Isetta were bought; the tiny cars themselves were to be powered by a modified form of BMW's own motorcycle engine. This was moderately successful and helped the company get back on its feet. The controlling majority shareholder of the BMW Aktiengesellschaft since 1959 is the Quandt family, which owns about 46% of the stock. The rest is in public float.
BMW acquired the Hans Glas company based in Dingolfing, Germany, in 1966. It was reputed that the acquisition was mainly to gain access to Glas' development of the timing belt with an overhead camshaft in automotive applications. Glas vehicles were briefly badged as BMW until the company was fully absorbed.
In 1992, BMW acquired a large stake in California based industrial design studio DesignworksUSA, which they fully acquired in 1995. In 1994, BMW bought the British Rover Group (which at the time consisted of the Rover, Land Rover and MG brands as well as the rights to defunct brands including Austin and Morris), and owned it for six years. By 2000, Rover was incurring huge losses and BMW decided to sell the combine. The MG and Rover brands were sold to the Phoenix Consortium to form MG Rover, while Land Rover was taken over by Ford. BMW, meanwhile, retained the rights to build the new Mini, which was launched in 2001.
Chief designer Chris Bangle announced his departure from BMW in February 2009, after serving on the design team for nearly seventeen years. He was replaced by Adrian van Hooydonk, Bangle's former right hand man. Bangle was known for his radical designs such as the 2002 7-Series and the 2002 Z4. In July 2007, the production rights for Husqvarna Motorcycles was purchased by BMW for a reported 93 million euros. BMW Motorrad plans to continue operating Husqvarna Motorcycles as a separate enterprise. All development, sales and production activities, as well as the current workforce, have remained in place at its present location at Varese.
In June 2012, BMW was listed as the #1 most reputable company in the world by Forbes.com. Rankings are based upon aspects such as "people's willingness to buy, recommend, work for, and invest in a company is driven 60% by their perceptions of the company and only 40% by their perceptions of their products."
- quoted from wikipedia.org
Read the definite review of 2019 BMW 1-Series before closing your next BMW 1-Series Lease deal. The 2013 BMW 1-Series is ranked: The 2013 BMW 128i is powered by a six-cylinder engine that reviewers said delivers brisk acceleration. Both the 135i and 135is are powered by a turbocharged six-cylinder engine, and test drivers agreed that both models are ... Read full review >
Read the definite review of 2019 BMW 3-Series before closing your next BMW 3-Series Lease deal. The 2016 BMW 3-Series is ranked: Performance Summary With its turbocharged four-cylinder engine, reviewers say the base 2016 BMW 320i is plenty powerful. They report that the 328i's turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers livelier acceleration, an... Read full review >
Read the definite review of 2019 BMW 4-Series before closing your next BMW 4-Series Lease deal. The 2015 BMW 4-Series is ranked: The 2015 BMW 4-Series coupe and convertible have an attractive interior style and precise handling, reviewers write, and the new 4-Series Gran Coupe has plenty of cargo room and more comfortable rear seats. Performanc... Read full review >
Read the definite review of 2019 BMW 5-Series before closing your next BMW 5-Series Lease deal. The 2015 BMW 5-Series is ranked: Performance Summary The base 2015 BMW 528i has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that automotive journalists say has more than enough power. They point out that the 535i, powered by a turbocharged six-cylinder engin... Read full review >
Read the definite review of 2019 BMW 7-Series before closing your next BMW 7-Series Lease deal. The 2015 BMW 7-Series is ranked: Performance Summary The 2015 BMW 740i comes with a turbocharged six-cylinder engine that auto writers find to be plenty powerful. A new diesel engine powers the 740Ld, and reviewers say it's even more powerful and ear... Read full review >
Read the definite review of 2019 BMW i3 before closing your next BMW i3 Lease deal. The 2015 BMW i3 is ranked: Performance Summary Reviewers say the 2015 BMW i3's electric motor accelerates rapidly from a full stop, as well as on the highway. The i3 has a range of 81 miles on a fully charged battery, and the EPA estimates that it ea... Read full review >
Read the definite review of 2019 BMW X1 before closing your next BMW X1 Lease deal. The 2016 BMW X1 is ranked: Performance Summary The redesigned 2016 BMW X1 features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Test drivers say the engine delivers good power and strong acceleration, but some think ... Read full review >
Read the definite review of 2019 BMW X3 before closing your next BMW X3 Lease deal. The 2016 BMW X3 is ranked: Performance Summary The base 2016 BMW X3 is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that automotive writers agree provides strong acceleration. Still, a few would like a bit more power for highway passing. They add t... Read full review >
Read the definite review of 2019 BMW X5 before closing your next BMW X5 Lease deal. The 2016 BMW X5 is ranked: Performance Summary The base 2016 BMW X5 comes with a turbocharged six-cylinder engine. A turbodiesel six-cylinder engine, two turbocharged V8 engines and a plug-in hybrid powertrain are available. Reviewers like the power ... Read full review >
Read the definite review of 2019 BMW X6 before closing your next BMW X6 Lease deal. Reviewers report the 2016 BMW X6 has athletic handling and a range of potent engines, but they say its cargo area is small and its rear seats don't have enough headroom. The 2016 BMW X6 is ranked: Performance Summary Test drivers s... Read full review >
Read the definite review of 2019 BMW Z4 before closing your next BMW Z4 Lease deal. The 2015 BMW Z4 is ranked: Reviewers think the 2015 BMW Z4 has a classy interior and a poised ride, but its competitors have more nimble handling. The base 2015 BMW Z4 sDrive28i comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates i... Read full review >