BMW History, Logo, Brand Facts & Models

BMW History, Logo, Brand Facts & Models

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In this BMW history, we briefly look at the origin, models, information and facts about the BMW car brand.

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is a German company that specializes in the production of luxury Automobiles.

One of the world’s most recognized automakers, BMW, has been in existence for over 100 years as the brand is widely known. 

In its over 100 years of existence, the company has survived two world wars, economic depression, and a rapid transition from an analog age to an ever-evolving digital age to emerge as a dominant player in the world of automaking. 

BMW has firmly established itself as a leading player in the automaking world through its exotic looks and design, which fuses with affluent technologies such as advanced infotainment systems only found in luxury Automobiles.

The BMW brand’s overwhelming success has seen the brand vehicles manufactured in eight countries on five continents. 

To further ensure the company’s influence continues to thrive, the brand has made a conscious effort to be involved in motorsports such as Formula 1, 24 hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona, and the Formula BMW. 

BMW’s success has been so impressive that the brand has sub-brands such as the BMW I, dedicated to electric cars’ production.

BMW Brand Information

2020 Logo of BMW
  • Date Founded: 7 March 1916
  • Founders: Camillo Castiglioni; Franz Josef Popp; Karl Rapp
  • Headquarters: Munich, Germany
  • CEO: Oliver Zipse
  • Brands: 
    • Automobiles: BMW; Mini; Rolls-Royce; BMW M; BMW i
    • Motorcycles: BMW Motorrad
  • Website:
  • Social Media: Facebook; Instagram; LinkedIn; Twitter; YouTube

BMW History

On March 7, 1916, an aircraft engine manufacturing company named Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG was founded.

The company continued to function under the name until 1922 when its name was changed to Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW). 

The name Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) dates as far back as 1913, where the company used the name which appears as Rapp Motorenwerke.

BMW’s first product ever made was BMW IIIa, a straight-six aircraft engine.

 BMW produced aircraft engines throughout World War I.

After the war ended, the demand for aircraft engines fell, thus promoting the company to shift focus to household items, farm equipment, motorcycle engine, and railway brakes. 

The shift to automobile production began in 1923 when the BMW produced its first motorcycle, the BMW R 32.

Five years later, BMW entered the automobile market after it bought the Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach, which manufactured the Austin 7 economy car under the Dixi marque. 

BMW soon bought the Automobilwerk Eisenach, the manufacturer of the Dixi marque. 

The first car which BMW sold was a rebadged Dixi car, named the BMW 3/15.

By the 1930s, BMW mainly focused on the production of automobiles, aircraft engines, and motorcycles. 

When World War II began, the demand for aircraft engines increased, and BMW focused on its production, with motorcycle production on the sideline, while automobiles’ manufacturing ceased. 

BMW made use of forced labor, majorly prisoners from concentration camps, in its factories during World War II, despite director Franz Josef Popp’s opposition. 

Because its factory manufactured aircraft engines for the Nazi army, their factories were heavily bombed.

When the war ended, BMW factories in West Germany were banned from manufacturing automobiles and aircraft engines. 

That dealt a significant blow to the company, but BMW changed focus and began manufacturing bicycles, pans, and pots.

Soon, authorities relaxed sanctions on the company, and by 1948, the production of motorcycles had begun. 

In 1952, car production resumed.

The first car the company produced was the BMW 501, a luxury car.

In 1955, the company began producing Isetta microcar, which was cheaper. 

However, slow sales soon saw the company plummet into a deep financial crisis, and in 1959, a rival automotive company, Daimler-Benz, began pushing to buy BMW.

But investment by Herbert Quandt and Harald Quandt led the company to survive. 

As of 2020, Herbert Quandt and Harald Quandt heirs own 50% of the company (Stefan Quandt (29%) and Susanne Klatten (21%). 

Following the significant investment by the Quandt’s, BMW launched the BMW 700, which was a success and saw the company recover financially.

By 1962, with the launch of the BMW New Class, the company emerged as a leading automotive company. 

With the introduction of other finely designed luxury cars with powerful engines, such as the 1976 BMW 6 Series luxury coupes and the 750i luxury sedan—its first V12 engine luxury car, BMW’s success and dominance continued. 

While BMW recorded overall growth and success, the company experienced financial loss at times, such as in 1994 when its takeover of the Rover Group led to financial repercussions.

In 2000, the company sold almost all of the Rover brands, except the Mini brand. 

The company, which had now been separated into the BMW brand and the BMW Group, bought the Range Rover brand from Vickers Plc through the BMW Group. 

BMW’s success has primarily resulted from its ability to evolve, as evidenced by its 2014 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), the brand’s first front-wheel-drive vehicle after years of producing rear-wheel drive vehicles.

BMW Logo History, Meaning & Facts

BMW Logo History & Evolution
BMW Logo Evolution from 1917–2020

BMW circular checker Blue and white logo is an evolution of the circular Rapp Motorenwerke company logo.

The blue and white checker box in the BMW logo is a symbol of the Free State of Bavaria flag color, where its headquarters is based. 

Interesting BMW Facts

  • BMW produced its first electric car in 1972 named the BMW 1602e. The car never made it to the market due to its performance and power issues.
  • BMW headquarters is designed like a Four-Cylinder Engine.
  • BMW signature grille dates back to 1937 and is called a Kidney grille.

BMW Models Lines (Production Cars)

The following is a complete list of all approved BMW model lines/series, including their years of production and the vehicle class.

BMW Model SeriesProduction YearsVehicle Class
3/151927–1932Economy car
3/20 PS1932–1934Compact car
3031933–1937Compact car
3261936–1941, 1945–1946Mid-size luxury car
3271937–1941, 1946–1955Grand tourer
3201937–1938Mid-size luxury car
3211938–1941, 1945–1950Mid-size luxury car
3351939–1941Full-size luxury car
3401949–1955Full-size luxury car
5011952–1962Mid-size luxury car
5031956–1959Grand tourer
7001959–1965Compact car
3200 CS1962–1965Grand tourer
New Class (sedans)1962–1972Mid-size luxury car
New Class (coupés)1965–1969Grand tourer
02 Series1966–1977Compact executive car
New Six coupés (E9)1968–1975Grand tourer
New Six sedans (E3)1968–1977Full-size luxury car
5 Series1972–presentMid-size luxury car
3 Series1975–presentCompact executive car
6 Series1976–presentGrand tourer
7 Series 1977–presentFull-size luxury car
BMW M1978–presentSports car, Motorsport
Z Series1989–1992, 1995–2016, 2018–presentRoadster
8 Series1989–presentGrand tourer
X Series1999–presentMid-size, Compact, Sub-compact & Full-size luxury SUV
1 Series2004–presentHatchback, Coupé, Convertible, Subcompact car
BMW i2013–presentSubcompact car (electric), Sports car (hybrid)
4 Series2013–presentCompact executive car
2 Series2013–presentSubcompact car, Subcompact MPV

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