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Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, commonly referred to as BMW (German pronunciation: [ˈbeːˈʔɛmˈveː] (About this soundlisten)), is a German multinational company which produces luxury vehicles and motorcycles. The company was founded in 1916 as a manufacturer of aircraft engines, which it produced from 1917 until 1918 and again from 1933 to 1945.


Bayerische Motoren Werke AG



Public (Aktiengesellschaft)

Traded as



DE0005190003 Edit this on Wikidata




Rapp Motorenwerke

Bayerische Flugzeugwerke

Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach


7 March 1916; 104 years ago


Camillo Castiglioni

Franz Josef Popp

Karl Rapp


Munich, Germany

Area served


Key people

Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management

Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board



Production output

Increase 2,564,025 vehicles (2019)









BMW Motorrad


Increase €104.210 billion (2019)[1]

Operating income

Decrease €7.412 billion (2019)[1]

Net income

Decrease €5.022 billion (2019)[1]

Total assets

Increase €228.034 billion (2019)[1]

Total equity

Increase €59.907 billion (2019)[1]


Public float (50%);

Stefan Quandt (29%),

Susanne Klatten (21%)

Number of employees

133,778 (2019)[1]


Automobiles are marketed under the brands BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce, and motorcycles are marketed under the brand BMW Motorrad. In 2015, BMW was the world's twelfth-largest producer of motor vehicles, with 2,279,503 vehicles produced.[2] The company has significant motorsport history, especially in touring cars, Formula 1, sports cars and the Isle of Man TT.


BMW is headquartered in Munich and produces motor vehicles in Germany, Brazil, China, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Mexico. The Quandt family are long-term shareholders of the company (with the remaining shares owned by public float), following brothers Herbert Quandt and Harald Quandt's investments in 1959 which saved the company from bankruptcy.



Main article: History of BMW

This section needs additional citations for verification.

Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG was formed in 1916. This company was renamed to Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) in 1922. However the name BMW dates back to 1913, when the original company to use the name was founded by Karl Rapp (initially as Rapp Motorenwerke GmbH). BMW's first product was a straight-six aircraft engine called the BMW IIIa. Following the end of World War I, BMW remained in business by producing motorcycle engines, farm equipment, household items and railway brakes. The company produced its first motorcycle, the BMW R 32 in 1923.


BMW became an automobile manufacturer in 1928 when it purchased Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach, which, at the time, built Austin Sevens under licence under the Dixi marque.[3] The first car sold as a BMW was a rebadged Dixi called the BMW 3/15, following BMW's acquisition of the car manufacturer Automobilwerk Eisenach. Throughout the 1930s, BMW expanded its range into sports cars and larger luxury cars.


Aircraft engines, motorcycles, and automobiles would be BMW's main products until World War II. During the war, against the wishes of its director Franz Josef Popp[citation needed], BMW concentrated on aircraft engine production using forced labor consisting primarily of prisoners from concentration camps, with motorcycles as a side line and automobile manufacture ceased altogether. BMW's factories were heavily bombed during the war and its remaining West German facilities were banned from producing motor vehicles or aircraft after the war. Again, the company survived by making pots, pans, and bicycles. In 1948, BMW restarted motorcycle production. BMW resumed car production in Bavaria in 1952 with the BMW 501 luxury saloon. The range of cars was expanded in 1955, through the production of the cheaper Isetta microcar under licence. Slow sales of luxury cars and small profit margins from microcars meant BMW was in serious financial trouble and in 1959 the company was nearly taken over by rival Daimler-Benz. A large investment in BMW by Herbert Quandt and Harald Quandt resulted in the company surviving as a separate entity. The BMW 700 was successful and assisted in the company's recovery.


The 1962 introduction of the BMW New Class compact sedans was the beginning of BMW's reputation as a leading manufacturer of sport-oriented cars. Throughout the 1960s, BMW expanded its range by adding coupe and luxury sedan models. The BMW 5 Series mid-size sedan range was introduced in 1972, followed by the BMW 3 Series compact sedans in 1975, the BMW 6 Series luxury coupes in 1976 and the BMW 7 Series large luxury sedans in 1978.


The BMW M division released its first road car, a mid-engine supercar, in 1978. This was followed by the BMW M5 in 1984 and the BMW M3 in 1986. Also in 1986, BMW introduced its first V12 engine in the 750i luxury sedan.


The company purchased the Rover Group in 1994, however the takeover was not successful and was causing BMW large financial losses. In 2000, BMW sold off most of the Rover brands, retaining only the Mini brand.


In 1998, BMW also acquired the rights to the Rolls Royce brand from Vickers Plc.


The 1995 BMW Z3 expanded the line-up to include a mass-production two-seat roadster and the 1999 BMW X5 was the company's entry into the SUV market.


The first modern mass-produced turbocharged petrol engine was introduced in 2006, (from 1973 to 1975, BMW built 1672 units of a turbocharged M10 engine for the BMW 2002 turbo),[4] with most engines switching over to turbocharging over the 2010s. The first hybrid BMW was the 2010 BMW ActiveHybrid 7, and BMW's first mass-production electric car was the BMW i3 city car, which was released in 2013, (from 1968 to 1972, BMW built two battery-electric BMW 1602 Elektro saloons for the 1972 Olympic Games).[5] After many years of establishing a reputation for sporting rear-wheel drive cars, BMW's first front-wheel drive car was the 2014 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer multi-purpose vehicle (MPV).




BMW badge on a 1931 Dixi


Flag of Bavaria

Company name

The name BMW is an abbreviation for Bayerische Motoren Werke (German pronunciation: [ˈbaɪ̯ʁɪʃə mɔˈtʰɔʁn̩ ˈvɛɐ̯kə]). This name is grammatically incorrect (in German, compound words must not contain spaces), which is why the name's grammatically correct form Bayerische Motorenwerke (German pronunciation: [ˈbaɪ̯ʁɪʃə mɔˈtʰɔʁn̩vɛɐ̯kə] (About this soundlisten)) has been used in several publications and advertisements in the past.[6][7] Bayerische Motorenwerke translates into English as Bavarian Motor Works.[8] The suffix AG, short for Aktiengesellschaft, signifies an incorporated entity which is owned by shareholders, thus akin to "Inc." (US) or PLC, "Public Limited Company" (UK).


The terms Beemer, Bimmer and Bee-em are sometimes used as slang for BMW in the English language[9][10] and are sometimes used interchangeably for cars and motorcycles.[11][12][13]




Logo used in vehicles


The above logo on a BMW car


Logo used for publicity purposes since March 2020

The circular blue and white BMW logo or roundel evolved from the circular Rapp Motorenwerke company logo, which featured a black ring bearing the company name surrounding the company logo,[14] on a plinth a horse's head couped.[15]


BMW retained Rapp's black ring inscribed with the company name, but adopted as the central element a circular escutcheon bearing a quasi-heraldic reference to the coat of arms (and flag) of the Free State of Bavaria (as the state of their origin was named after 1918), being the arms of the House of Wittelsbach, Dukes and Kings of Bavaria.[14] However as the local law regarding trademarks forbade the use of state coats of arms or other symbols of sovereignty on commercial logos, the design was sufficiently differentiated to comply, but retained the tinctures azure (blue) and argent (white).[16][14][17]


The current iteration of the logo was introduced in 2020,[18] removing 3D effects that had been used in renderings of the logo, and also removing the black outline encircling the rondel. The logo will be used on BMW's branding but will not be used on vehicles.[19][20]


The origin of the logo as a portrayal of the movement of an aircraft propeller, the BMW logo with the white blades seeming to cut through a blue sky, is a myth which sprang from a 1929 BMW advertisement depicting the BMW emblem overlaid on a rotating propeller, with the quarters defined by strobe-light effect, a promotion of an aircraft engine then being built by BMW under license from Pratt & Whitney.[14] "For a long time, BMW made little effort to correct the myth that the BMW badge is a propeller" (quote by Fred Jakobs, Archive Director, BMW Group Classic).[21] It is well established that this propellor portrayal was first used in a BMW advertisement in 1929 – twelve years after the logo was created – so this is not the true origin of the logo.[22]



The slogan 'The Ultimate Driving Machine' was first used in North America in 1974.[23][24] In 2010, this long-lived campaign was mostly supplanted by a campaign intended to make the brand more approachable and to better appeal to women, 'Joy'. By 2012 BMW had returned to 'The Ultimate Driving Machine'.[25]



For the fiscal year 2017, BMW reported earnings of EUR 8.620 billion, with an annual revenue of EUR 98.678 billion, an increase of 4.8% over the previous fiscal cycle.[26] BMW's shares traded at over €77 per share, and its market capitalization was valued at US 55.3 billion in November 2018.[27]


Year Revenue

in bn. EUR€ Net income

in bn. EUR€ Total Assets

in bn. EUR€ Employees

2013 76.058 5.314 138.368 110,351

2014 80.401 5.798 154.803 116,324

2015 92.175 6.369 172.174 122,244

2016 94.163 6.863 188.535 124,729

2017 98.678 8.620 193.483 129,932


See also: BMW Motorrad and History of BMW motorcycles


The R32 motorcycle, the first BMW motor vehicle, at the BMW Museum in Munich


The 2015 BMW R1200RT

BMW began production of motorcycle engines and then motorcycles after World War I.[28] Its motorcycle brand is now known as BMW Motorrad. Their first successful motorcycle after the failed Helios and Flink, was the "R32" in 1923, though production originally began in 1921.[29] This had a "boxer" twin engine, in which a cylinder projects into the air-flow from each side of the machine. Apart from their single-cylinder models (basically to the same pattern), all their motorcycles used this distinctive layout until the early 1980s. Many BMW's are still produced in this layout, which is designated the R Series.


The entire BMW Motorcycle production has, since 1969, been located at the company's Berlin-Spandau factory.


During the Second World War, BMW produced the BMW R75 motorcycle with a motor-driven sidecar attached, combined with a lockable differential, this made the vehicle very capable off-road.[30][31]


In 1982, came the K Series, shaft drive but water-cooled and with either three or four cylinders mounted in a straight line from front to back. Shortly after, BMW also started making the chain-driven F and G series with single and parallel twin Rotax engines.


In the early 1990s, BMW updated the airhead Boxer engine which became known as the oilhead. In 2002, the oilhead engine had two spark plugs per cylinder. In 2004 it added a built-in balance shaft, an increased capacity to 1,170 cc and enhanced performance to 100 hp (75 kW) for the R1200GS, compared to 85 hp (63 kW) of the previous R1150GS. More powerful variants of the oilhead engines are available in the R1100S and R1200S, producing 98 and 122 hp (73 and 91 kW), respectively.


In 2004, BMW introduced the new K1200S Sports Bike which marked a departure for BMW. It had an engine producing 167 hp (125 kW), derived from the company's work with the Williams F1 team, and is lighter than previous K models. Innovations include electronically adjustable front and rear suspension, and a Hossack-type front fork that BMW calls Duolever.


BMW introduced anti-lock brakes on production motorcycles starting in the late 1980s. The generation of anti-lock brakes available on the 2006 and later BMW motorcycles paved the way for the introduction of electronic stability control, or anti-skid technology later in the 2007 model year.


BMW has been an innovator in motorcycle suspension design, taking up telescopic front suspension long before most other manufacturers. Then they switched to an Earles fork, front suspension by swinging fork (1955 to 1969). Most modern BMWs are truly rear swingarm, single sided at the back (compare with the regular swinging fork usually, and wrongly, called swinging arm). Some BMWs started using yet another trademark front suspension design, the Telelever, in the early 1990s. Like the Earles fork, the Telelever significantly reduces dive under braking.


BMW Group, on 31 January 2013, announced that Pierer Industrie AG has bought Husqvarna Motorcycles for an undisclosed amount, which will not be revealed by either party in the future. The company is headed by Stephan Pierer (CEO of KTM). Pierer Industrie AG is 51% owner of KTM and 100% owner of Husqvarna.


In September 2018, BMW unveiled a new self-driving motorcycle with BMW Motorrad with a goal of using the technology to help improve road safety.[32] The design of the bike was inspired by the company's BMW R1200 GS model.[33]



Current models

See also: List of BMW vehicles, Mini (marque), and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The current model lines of BMW cars are:


1 Series five-door hatchbacks (model code F40). A four-door sedan variant (model code F52) is also sold in China and Mexico.[34]

2 Series two-door coupes (model code F22) and convertibles (F23), "Active Tourer" five-seat MPVs (F45) and "Gran Tourer" seven-seat MPVs (F46), and four-door "Gran Coupe" fastback (model code F44).

3 Series four-door sedans (model code G20) and five-door station wagons (G21).

4 Series two-door coupes (model code G22), two-door convertibles (model code G23) and five-door "Gran Coupe" fastbacks (model code G24).

5 Series four-door sedans (model code G30) and five-door station wagons (G31). A long-wheelbase sedan variant (G38) is also sold in China.

6 Series "Gran Turismo" four-door coupes (model code G32)

7 Series four-door sedans (model code G11) and long-wheelbase four-door sedans (model code G12).

8 Series two-door coupes (model code G14), two-door convertibles (G15) and "Gran Coupe" four-door fastbacks (G16).


1 Series (F40)




2 Series (F22)




3 Series (G20)




4 Series (F33)




5 Series (G30)




6 Series (G32)




7 Series (G12)




8 Series (G15)


The current model lines of the X Series SUVs and crossovers are:


X1 (model code F48)

X2 (F39)

X3 (G01)

X4 (G02)

X5 (G05)

X6 (G06)

X7 (G07)


X1 (F48)




X2 (F39)




X3 (G01)




X4 (G02)



X5 (G05)




X6 (G06)




X7 (G07)


The current model line of the Z Series two-door roadsters is the Z4 (model code G29).



Z4 (G29)


i models

Main article: BMW i

All-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles are sold under the BMW i sub-brand. The current model range consists of:


i3 five-door B-segment (supermini) hatchback, powered by an electric motor (with optional REx petrol engine)

i8 two-door sports coupe/roadster, powered by an electric motor and a petrol engine (plug-in hybrid)








BMW announced the launch of two new BMW i all-electric models, the BMW iX3 SUV by late 2020, and the BMW i4 four-door sedan in 2021.[35][36]


In addition, several plug-in hybrid models built on existing platforms have been marketed as iPerformance models. Examples include the 225xe using a 1.5 L three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor, the 330e/530e using a 2.0 L four-cylinder engine with an electric motor, and the 740e using a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor.[37] Also, crossover and SUV plug-in hybrid models have been released using i technology: X1 xDrive25e, X2 xDrive25e, X3 xDrive30e, and X5 xDrive40e.[38]


M models

Main article: BMW M

The BMW M GmbH subsidiary (called BMW Motorsport GmbH until 1993) has high-performance versions of various BMW models since 1978.


The recent model range consists of:


M2 two-door coupe

M3 four-door sedan (due to return in 2020)[39]

M4 two-door coupe/convertible

M5 four-door sedan

M8 two-door coupe/convertible

X3 M five-door compact SUV[40]

X4 M five-door coupe-styled compact SUV[40]

X5 M five-door SUV (expected to return in 2020)[41]

X6 M five-door coupe-styled SUV (expected to return in 2020)[42]














M8 coupe




M8 convertible




X3 M




X4 M


The letter "M" is also often used in the marketing of BMW's regular models, for example the F20 M140i model, the G11 M760Li model and various optional extras called "M Sport", "M Performance" or similar.


Naming convention for models

Main article: List of BMW vehicles § Nomenclature


Main article: BMW in motorsport

BMW has a long history of motorsport activities, including:


Touring cars, such as DTM, WTCC, ETCC and BTCC

Formula One

Endurance racing, such as 24 Hours Nürburgring, 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona and Spa 24 Hours

Isle of Man TT

Dakar Rally

American Le Mans Series

Formula BMW – a junior racing Formula category.

Formula Two

Formula E


2016 BMW M4 DTM




2016 BMW M6 GT3




2016 BMW S1000RR


Involvement in the arts

Art Cars

Main article: BMW Art Car

In 1975, sculptor Alexander Calder was commissioned to paint the BMW 3.0 CSL racing car driven by Hervé Poulain at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which became the first in the series of BMW Art Cars. Since Calder's work of art, many other renowned artists throughout the world have created BMW Art Cars, including David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol.[43] To date, a total of 19 BMW Art Cars, based on both racing and regular production vehicles, have been created.



1975 3.0 CSL Art Car by Alexander Calder




1979 M1 Art Car by Andy Warhol




2017 M6 GT3 Art Car by Cao Fei




BMW Headquarters

The global BMW Headquarters in Munich represents the cylinder head of a 4-cylinder engine. It was designed by Karl Schwanzer and was completed in 1972. The building has become a European icon[43] and was declared a protected historic building in 1999. The main tower consists of four vertical cylinders standing next to and across from each other. Each cylinder is divided horizontally in its center by a mold in the facade. Notably, these cylinders do not stand on the ground; they are suspended on a central support tower.


BMW Museum is a futuristic cauldron-shaped building, which was also designed by Karl Schwanzer and opened in 1972.[44] The interior has a spiral theme and the roof is a 40-metre diameter BMW logo.


BMW Welt, the company's exhibition space in Munich, was designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au and opened in 2007. It includes a showroom and lifting platforms where a customer's new car is theatrically unveiled to the customer.[45]



BMW Museum




BMW Welt



In 2001 and 2002, BMW produced a series of 8 short films called The Hire, which had plots based around BMW models being driven to extremes by Clive Owen.[46] The directors for The Hire included Guy Ritchie, John Woo, John Frankenheimer and Ang Lee. In 2016, a ninth film in the series was released.


The 2006 "BMW Performance Series" was a marketing event geared to attract black car buyers. It consisted of seven concerts by jazz musician Mike Phillips, and screenings of films by black filmmakers.[47][48]


Visual arts

BMW was the principal sponsor of the 1998 The Art of the Motorcycle exhibition at various Guggenheim museums, though the financial relationship between BMW and the Guggenheim Foundation was criticised in many quarters.[49][50]


In 2012, BMW began sponsoring Independent Collectors production of the BMW Art Guide, which is the first global guide to private and publicly accessible collections of contemporary art worldwide.[51] The fourth edition, released in 2016, features 256 collections from 43 countries.[52]

BMW. ...................

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