Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH
• BMW was founded by Karl Friedrich Rapp in October 1913, originally as
an aircraft engine manufacturer, Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke. The
Milbertshofen district of Munich location was chosen because it was close to
the Gustav Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik site, a German aircraft manufacturer.
The blue-and-white circular logo BMW still uses alludes to the blue
and white checkered flag of Bavaria and also indicates a spinning
white propeller on a blue-sky background.
• In 1923 BMW built their first model motorcycle the R32. The R32 had
notably a 500cc air-cooled horizontally-opposed engine. A feature that
would resonate among their various models for decades to come...
albeit with displacement increases and newer technology.
World War II
• BMW motorcycles, specifically the BMW R 12 and the BMW R 75
combination were used extensively by the Reconnaissance formations of
German panzer and motorised divisions of the Heer, Waffen SS and
• The BMW works were heavily bombed towards the end of the war.
Of its sites, those in eastern Germany (Eisenach, Dürrerhof, Basdorf
and Zühlsdorf) were seized by the Soviets. The factory in Munich
was largely destroyed.
Aftermath of WWII
• After the war the Munich factory took some time to restart production in
any volume. BMW was banned from manufacturing for three years by the
Allies and did not produce a car model until 1952.
• In the east, the company's factory at Eisenach was taken over by the state-
owned Awtowelo group. That company offered "BMWs" for sale until
1951, when the Bavarian company prevented use of the trademarks: the
name, the logo and the "double-kidney" radiator grille.
BMW head office Munich
Production outside Germany
• BMW started producing automobiles at its Spartanburg, South
Carolina plant in 1994. Today, the plant manufactures the BMW X5
and BMW Z4 Roadster.
• The Spartanburg plant is open six days a week, producing
automobiles approximately 110 hours a week. It employs about
4,700 people and manufactures over 500 vehicles daily.
• After a period of local assembly, BMW's Rosslyn, South Africa plant
now manufactures cars, with over 70 percent of its output destined
for export. In the mid-1990s, BMW invested R1 billion to make
Rosslyn a world-class facility. The plant now exports over 50,000 3
Series cars a year, mostly to the USA, Japan, Australia, Africa and
the Middle East.
• Starting from October 2003, BMWs are produced in Shenyang,
China. BMW has established a joint venture with Chinese
manufacturer Brilliance to build BMW 3 Series and 5 Series vehicles
for the local market.
• THE END