The History of BMW

A Walk Through Time

Today, BMW is synonymous with German automobile and motorbike engineering. The brand’s vehicles are luxurious and well-made. However, most people, even BMW drivers, know very little about how the company reached its modern status.

Early Days

Officially, BMW was founded on March 7, 1916, with the formation of Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG. However, the name actually dates back to the formation of Rapp Motorenwerke in 1913. These companies, along with Automobilewerk Eisenach, merged to form BMW.

The two former companies were initially involved in aircraft manufacturing. However, BMW was forced to cease producing aircraft by the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I. The brand started to build motorcycles, cars, and other vehicles.

During the Second World War, the company returned briefly to aircraft but continued ground vehicle production from 1945 onwards. BMW struggled to really achieve success and, in 1959, was facing bankruptcy.

Reinvention

In 1962, BMW released the New Class. This vehicle was a major success and included many design cues that would be familiar to modern BMW fans. In 1968, the New Class gave way to the new 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, and a new straight-six engine.

These vehicles were a huge success and laid the groundwork for BMW as we know it today. Most notably, the straight-six engine has been a central component of “the Ultimate Driving Machine” for decades. Although modern BMWs use turbochargers, this six-cylinder, naturally aspirated engine and its followers have defined many of the brand’s vehicles.

In 1978, BMW created its M division. Although the first M1 was only a moderate success, the M5 and M3 were hugely successful. They helped to define BMW as a sports-oriented brand.

Modern History

Through the 90s, BMW continued to build impressive sedans, coupes, and roadsters. In 1999, the company introduced the X5 SUV. Throughout the next decade, luxury SUVs would be major drivers in the automobile market, especially in the U.S.

Starting in 2006, BMW started using turbocharged engines more. Although some miss the old, naturally aspirated engines, there is no denying that the modern vehicles are engineering marvels.

Get BMW Servicing

Come to Rocco’s European Garage in East Cobb for help with all your BMW services and maintenance. We also work on many other European brands. Schedule an appointment online.

Written by Rocco's European Garage

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