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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 Luftwaffe.

• 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 stateowned 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.

BMW Cars


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