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History of BMW

Bavarian Motor Works, or BMW, traces its roots to an aircraft manufacturing company founded in 1913 by Karl Friedrich Rapp. The automaker manufactured its first automobile in 1928. Known as the Dixi, the vehicle’s success enabled the company to weather the Great Depression. It was built under a licensing agreement with Austin, a British manufacturer. BMW’s first production car, the AM4, was introduced in 1932. Just prior to the Second World War, the Type 328 roadster enabled BMW to post numerous racing victories and launched the company’s reputation for performance and handling. After the war, BMW introduced its first 5 Series luxury sedan. Its commitment to technical innovation was established when the next model 5 Series was powered by the world’s first light-alloy V8 engine. The company pioneered efforts in turbo-charging and automotive electronics.

BMW expanded to provide a full range lineup of vehicles in the 1970s that included the 3-, 5- and 7 Series vehicles. It was during this time that a throng of loyal “Bimmer” owners was created and BMW became a quintessential yuppie symbol. In the 1990s, the company introduced the popular Z3 roadster that played a starring role in the James Bond film Goldeneye.

At the turn of the 21st century, BMW introduced the economical 1 Series along with a mid-size and compact SUV. The Z3 was replaced with the Z4 model and the M Series high-end sports cars were also unveiled. The company continues to make high-performance motorcycles as it has since the 1920s. BMW is also the parent company for Rolls-Royce and Mini, solidifying its position in the ultra-luxury and small city car markets. The automaker is actively involved in Formula One as well as Sports, Rally, and Touring Car racing. BMW is also committed to producing environmentally friendly vehicles.

As of 2012, BMW has manufacturing and assembly plants in eight countries and employs more than 102,000 people. BMW of North America’s largest manufacturing plant in the United States is located in South Carolina. Worldwide production and revenues exceed 1.4 million units and $88 million. Headquartered in Munich, the company shares trade on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BMW. While the automaker strives to create the ultimate driving machine, it pays homage to its beginning. The iconic hood ornament signifies a white airplane propeller spinning against a blue sky. The colors also represent Bavaria, the company’s international headquarters.