Bayerische Motoren Werke
BMW is the acronym for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG or in English, Bavarian Motor Works. It's an independent German company and manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles. It's the world's largest premium car-maker and is the parent company of the BMW Mini, and Rolls-Royce car brands, and, formerly
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The History of BMW
Over the last 100 years, BMW has transformed from a struggling airplane engine company to being the manufacturer of some of the most highly coveted luxury vehicles in the world. The company has witnessed some of the darkest times in European history but has emerged as a strong, stable representative of quality German design and engineering. During its transformation from a company owning only one small production facility near Munich to a global organization owning 30 production facilities in 14 countries on 4 continents, BMW has changed greatly. The organization has diversified, taken on social issues and become one of the major sponsors of professional golf.BMW has proven that one of the best ways through adversity is diversity and that mantra will continue to propel them into the future. The following article follows the history of BMW from its foundation in 1917 to its present global operations. BOOST
The History of BMW
August 13, 2015 by Anastasia
The History of BMW
Over the last 100 years, BMW has transformed from a struggling airplane engine company to being the manufacturer of some of the most highly coveted luxury vehicles in the world. The company has witnessed some of the darkest times in European history but has emerged as a strong, stable representative of quality German design and engineering. During its transformation from a company owning only one small production facility near Munich to a global organization owning 30 production facilities in 14 countries on 4 continents, BMW has changed greatly. The organization has diversified, taken on social issues and become one of the major sponsors of professional golf.BMW has proven that one of the best ways through adversity is diversity and that mantra will continue to propel them into the future. The following article follows the history of BMW from its foundation in 1917 to its present global operations.
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In this article, we explore several important development stages of the BMW by walking through sections: 1) foundation of BMW, 2) BMW during World War II, 3) BMW during 1970s, 4) turn of a new century, and 5) themillenium.
FOUNDATION OF BMW
BMW was the product of three manufacturing companies that became Bayerische Motorenwerke in 1917. Rapp Motorenwerke and Bayerische Flugzeugwerke were separate companies until the year 1918 until they were merged into a new public limited company. In 1918, Rapp Motorenwerke had been restructured and taken on the name BMW when it absorbed the struggling Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (BFW).
1) Rapp Motorenwerke
Rapp Motorenwerke GmbH manufactured aircraft engines in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. It was founded by Karl Friedrich Rapp in 1913. The company suffered during the early years of World War I until it was ordered by the Prussian army to produce 600 aero engines. This order saved the company from collapse. Soon after, the founder, Karl Rapp was forced out of the company. This prompted a restructuring that led to the name change to Bayerische Motorenwerke GmbH. Newly restructured Bayerische Motorenwerke was the first company to use the moniker BMW.
2) Bayerische Flugzeugwerke
Gustav Otto, a Bavarian aviator, founded the Gustav Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik in 1913 near Munich. Because of unnamed issues in the quality of their products, the company was not ordered to provide armaments to the Prussian military during World War I. The company suffered financially before it was purchased by investors and closed in 1918.After its closure, Bayerische Flugzeug Werke (also known as BFW) was merged with the newly restructured Bayerische Motoren Werke to complete the transformation into BMW.
3) Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach
Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach was founded as a stock company in 1896. The company initially made bicycles but after two years in business they began to produce the Wartburg, a motor car. This was the third automobile manufacturer to be founded in Germany, the first two being Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie.The company was acquired by BMW in November 1928. This acquisition contributed to BMW’s shift from manufacturing airplane engines to creating civilian automotive vehicles.
The first BMW logo was created in 1917, and it includes the colors blue and white which are the Bavarian state colors. The logo was reimagined several times throughout the years, but it still retained its basic form – including the blue and white colors. Many people believe that the alternating colors in a circle are an interpretation of an airplane propeller. In fact, the BMW logo was an interpretation of Karl Rapp’s former logo. The letters ‘BMW’ are arranged similarly to how Rapp’s original logo was designed.
Rapp Motorwekre struggled severely because of quality issues until halfway through World War I. When the Prussian army ordered 600 aeroplane engines from Rapp Motorwerke.Overnight, the company went from being on the brink of extinction to genuinely contributing to the German war effort, and this allowed them to acquire BFW in 1918. Two years after the end of the war, in 1920, Camillo Castiglioni, an Italian-Austrian financier with a passion for aviation, injected capital into the company and gave it a new life. Camilo Castiglioni was the wealthiest man in Central Europe during that what period.He is widely known for having owned over 170 different companies. He is often recognized for having provided the financing and guidance BMW needed to become the successful automotive manufacturer it is today.
In 1922, the company relocated the production center to the Oberwiesenfeld airfield near Munich. These new headquarters would become the parent plant for the entire BMW group. Today, the Munich headquarters employ 9,000 employees who make over200,000 cars every year.
In 1923, BMW expanded its operations from aeroplane engines to motorcycles. They announced their first motorcycle that would be called the R32.This was a big step for the company because it has previously only made motor engines and not entire vehicles.BMW created a motorcycle design that was so efficient that the 1923 concept plan is still used in modern BMW motorcycles.
In 1928, BMW began working on their first car after they purchased Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach, the third automobile manufacturer established in Germany. Cars were not produced in the Munich production center. Instead, the company continued to use the former Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach plant located in Thuringia region of Central Germany. The first car manufactured by BMW was a design borrowed from the Austin Motor Company. It was not until 1932 that BMW utilized its own designs and built its first car.
BMW DURING WORLD WAR II
During World War II, BMW manufactured war materials for the German military. This was not uncommon as most of the manufacturing facilities, and production plants in Germany came under the control of the government following the Nazi invasion of Poland. During this time, BMW was devoted almost entirely to making aircrafts for the German air force and motorcycles for the German army. Civilian automobile production came to a complete stop until after the war.
BMW had a dark history during the Second World War. To keep up with production demands of the German military, BMW began to employ foreign workers in the year 1940. These workers worked on the factory floor taking over the roles that had been left open by German men who had been drafted into the military. These workers were not enough to keep up with the required pace of manufacturing.Beginning in 1942, BMW began to employ POWs from Eastern Europe as well as forced laborers from Western Europe.These workers worked alongside prisoners from Nazi concentration camps. All of the workers in these plants worked in conditions that are considered to be inhumane. Suitable working conditions were sacrificed for efficiency. BMW has publically recognized this history and has expressed sincere regret over the fate of the workers in their plants during this tragic period.BMW has seen both hard times and prosperous times throughout the 20th century.However, it is the group’s unstable beginning combined with its unending quest for self-improvement that has brought it into the 21st century as one of the top luxury automotive brands in the world