How BMW Was Started – The History Of Bayerische Motoren Werke Company

Today, BMW is one of the ten biggest car brands in the world, but did you know that BMW started off manufacturing aircraft engines? BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke, or Bavarian Motor Works in English) is a German company that has been around since 1916. Here is how it all began:

1910 – the company Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik was founded by Gustav Otto in Bavaria. The firm was reorganized on 7 March 1916 into Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG. This company was then 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 Rapp Motorenwerke GmbH). The name and Rapp Motorenwerke’s engine-production assets were transferred to Bayerische Flugzeugwerke in 1922, which adopted the BMW name the same year.

Initially, BMW focused on building aircraft engines. The first engine created by the company was the aircraft engine BMW IIIa – an inline-six engine that was produced in 1918; the engine was known at the time for its fast and reliable performance.

BMW had to stop aircraft engine production at the end of World War I because of the terms set out in the Versailles Armistice Treaty. Because of this, the company shifted focus and started to manufacture motorcycle engines, railway brakes, household items, and even farm equipment. The company manufactured its first motorcycle BMW R32 in 1923. BMW started to produce cars in 1928, and the first vehicle successfully manufactured by the company was the Dixi – based on the Austin 7 and granted permission by the Austin Motor Company in the British city of Birmingham. The Dixi was the most successful vehicle to be produced by BMW and it was able to reach sales numbers of over 16,500. After the success of the Dixi, BMW went on to produce a number of other vehicles, such as the Isetta, which was another incredibly successful BMW vehicle.

In 1929, Ernst Henne achieved a world record for the fastest motorcycle speed (134 miles per hour) on a vehicle created by BMW, and four years later, the company had created its first car which was powered by a 1.2-liter six-cylinder engine – the BMW 303.

BMW 328


Once again, the company started to produce aircraft engines for the Luftwaffe in the 1930s and created many famous World War II designs. Some of these included the BMW 801 and BMW 132 – both of which comprised of air-cooled engines – as well as the BMW 003, which was used to power the Heinkel He 162 Spatz, the powerful aircraft known as the “emergency fighter” in 1944 and 1945.

The BMW brand is known today for its luxury cars, however, it wasn’t until 1952 that BMW entered the premium automotive market. This was done with the launch of the BMW 501, which was a six-cylinder sedan. From here, BMW continued to produce a number of luxury cars and SUVs, as well as introducing the BMW Motorsports division to the world in 1972.

Today, BMW is one of the biggest automotive companies in the world. They produce some of the most iconic and luxurious cars on the road, and their motorsports division continues to be a source of great success. BMW is considered to be a symbol of performance and class, and the company will continue to be an important part of the automotive industry for many years to come.

To read more about how BMW was turned from a small aircraft engine manufacturer, into one of the greatest car brands on Earth, you can read the full history of the company on BMW’s official site here: BMW Group – company history.

Some interesting facts about BMW

Have you ever wondered what makes BMW one of the most respected automotive brands in the world? It could be the memorable designs, impressive performance, or luxurious interiors. Or maybe it is their incredible engineering and dedication to innovation. Whatever the reason may be, BMW is certainly a powerhouse in the auto industry. Here are 10 fun facts about BMW you might find interesting.

1. The name BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates to Bavarian Motor Works in English. It was founded in 1916 in Munich, Germany, and began as an aircraft engine manufacturer.

2. BMW is known for some of the most iconic cars ever made, such as the 3 Series, 5 Series, and 7 Series. The first BMW car to be produced was the Dixi 3/15, which was released in 1929.

3. Over the decades, BMW has collaborated with many iconic names in the auto industry, such as Chevy, Lamborghini, and Rolls-Royce.

4. BMW has an incredibly rich history in motorsport racing. The first official racing success for BMW cars was in the Alpenfahrt race in 1924. This was followed by multiple wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, DTM championships, and many more.

5. In the early days, BMW was the first company to introduce a “speed limiter” in their cars, which allowed drivers to control the maximum speed of their cars.

6. BMW’s “Ultimate Driving Machine” slogan was first used in 1975, and it remains to this day as a major part of their brand.

7. BMW is a pioneer in electric cars, releasing the first all-electric BMW in 2013. They have since released several all-electric models, such as the i3, i8, and iX3.

8. BMW was the first automaker to implement airbags into their vehicles, starting in 1991.

9. BMW is also well known for its luxurious interiors and high-quality materials. They also often produce custom-made cars with specially designed, handmade interiors.

10. The BMW logo is actually a tribute to the company’s first airplane engine maker, Rapp Motors. It consists of blue and white colors, the blue and white colors of the Bavarian flag.

More useful resources about the history of the company you can find on their corporate site: