|Traded as||FWB: BMW|
|Founder(s)||Franz Josef Popp|
|Key people||Norbert Reithofer (CEO), Joachim Milberg (Chairman of the supervisory board)|
|Products||Automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles|
|Revenue||€60.48 billion (2010)|
|Operating income||€5.094 billion (2010)|
|Profit||€3.218 billion (2010)|
|Total assets||€108.87 billion (end 2010)|
|Total equity||€23.10 billion (end 2010)|
|Employees||95,450 (end 2010)|
|Subsidiaries||Rolls-Royce Motor Cars |
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG pronunciation (help·info) (BMW) (English: Bavarian Motor Works) is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916. It also owns and produces the Mini marque, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW produces motorcycles under BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna brands. In 2010, the BMW group produced 1,481,253 automobiles and 112,271 motorcycles across all its brands.
BMW entered existence as a business entity following a restructuring of the Rapp Motorenwerke aircraft engine manufacturing firm in 1917. After the end of World War I in 1918, BMW was forced to cease aircraft engine production by the terms of the Versailles Armistice Treaty. The company consequently shifted to motorcycle production in 1923 once the restrictions of the treaty started to be lifted, followed by automobiles in 1928–29.
The circular blue and white BMW logo or roundel is portrayed by BMW as the movement of an aircraft propeller, to signify the white blades cutting through the blue sky – an interpretation that BMW adopted for convenience in 1929, twelve years after the roundel was created. The emblem evolved from the circular Rapp Motorenwerke company logo, from which the BMW company grew, combined with the blue and white colours of the flag of Bavaria, reversed to produce the BMW roundel. However, the origin of the logo being based on the movement of a propeller is in dispute, according to an article posted in 2010 by the New York Times, quoting "At the BMW Museum in Munich, Anne Schmidt-Possiwal, explained that the blue-and-white company logo did not represent a spinning propeller, but was meant to show the colours of the Free State of Bavaria."[unreliable source?]
BMW's first significant aircraft engine was the BMW IIIa inline-six liquid-cooled engine of 1918, much preferred for its high-altitude performance. With German rearmament in the 1930s, the company again began producing aircraft engines for the Luftwaffe. Among its successful World War II engine designs were the BMW 132 and BMW 801 air-cooled radial engines, and the pioneering BMW 003 axial-flow turbojet, which powered the tiny, 1944-1945-era jet-powered "emergency fighter", the Heinkel He 162 Spatz. The BMW 003 jet engine was tested in the A-1b version of the world's first jet fighter, the Messerschmitt Me 262, but BMW engines failed on takeoff, a major setback for the jet fighter program until successful testing with Junkers engines.
By the year 1959, the automotive division of BMW was in financial difficulties and a shareholders meeting was held to decide whether to go into liquidation or find a way of carrying on. It was decided to carry on and to try to cash in on the current economy car boom enjoyed so successfully by some of Germany's ex-aircraft manufacturers such as Messerschmitt and Heinkel. The rights to manufacture the Italian Iso Isetta were bought; the tiny cars themselves were to be powered by a modified form of BMW's own motorcycle engine. This was moderately successful and helped the company get back on its feet. The controlling majority shareholder of the BMW Aktiengesellschaft since 1959 is the Quandt family, which owns about 46% of the stock. The rest is in public float.
BMW acquired the Hans Glas company based in Dingolfing, Germany, in 1966. It was reputed that the acquisition was mainly to gain access to Glas' development of the timing belt with an overhead camshaft in automotive applications. Glas vehicles were briefly badged as BMW until the company was fully absorbed.
In 1992, BMW acquired a large stake in California based industrial design studio DesignworksUSA, which they fully acquired in 1995. In 1994, BMW bought the British Rover Group (which at the time consisted of the Rover, Land Rover and MG brands as well as the rights to defunct brands including Austin and Morris), and owned it for six years. By 2000, Rover was making huge losses and BMW decided to sell the combine. The MG and Rover brands were sold to the Phoenix Consortium to form MG Rover, while Land Rover was taken over by Ford. BMW, meanwhile, retained the rights to build the new Mini, which was launched in 2001.
Chief designer Chris Bangle announced his departure from BMW in February 2009, after serving on the design team for nearly seventeen years. He was replaced by Adrian van Hooydonk, Bangle's former right hand man. Bangle was known for his radical designs such as the 2002 7-Series and the 2002 Z4. In July 2007, the production rights for Husqvarna Motorcycles was purchased by BMW for a reported 93 million euros. BMW Motorrad plans to continue operating Husqvarna Motorcycles as a separate enterprise. All development, sales and production activities, as well as the current workforce, have remained in place at its present location at Varese.
- Strategic investors: 46.7%
- Institutional investors:
- North America: 15.8%
- United Kingdom and Ireland: 11.8%
- Other Europe: 5.7%
- Germany: 4.8%
- Rest of the world: 2.5%
- Other investors: 12.7%
In 2006, the BMW group (including Mini and Rolls-Royce) produced 1,366,838 four-wheeled vehicles, which were manufactured in five countries. In 2010, it manufactured 1,481,253 four-wheeled vehicles and 112,271 motorcycles (under both the BMW and Husqvarna brands).
The BMW X3 (E83) was made by Magna Steyr, a subsidiary of Magna of Canada, in Graz, Austria under license from BMW until 2010. Over 45.973 were produced in 2009. Starting October 2010 the new BMW X3 (F25) is produced in BMW's plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, U.S.A. From September 2010, the plant is producing MINI Countryman.
It is reported that about 56 per cent BMW brand vehicles produced are powered by petrol engines and the remaining 44 per cent are powered by diesel engines. Of those petrol vehicles, about 27 per cent are four cylinder models and about nine per cent are eight-cylinder models.
Production by country
|Mexico||BMW||1,500||100,000||BMW X3, X5, 3, 5, 7-series|
|Russia||BMW||1,500||2,000||BMW X5, X6, 5-series|
|United Kingdom||Mini||187,454||235,019||All Minis|
|USA||BMW||105,172||170,741||BMW X3, X5, X6|
|South Africa||BMW||54,782||47,980||BMW 3-Series|
Vehicles sold in all markets according to BMW's annual reports.
Since 2008, motorcycle sales figures include Husqvarna models.
| ||This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2008)|
BMW began building motorcycle engines and then motorcycles after World War I. Its motorcycle brand is now known as BMW Motorrad. Their first successful motorcycle, after the failed Helios and Flink, was the "R32" in 1923. This had a "boxer" twin engine, in which a cylinder projects into the air-flow from each side of the machine. Apart from their single cylinder models (basically to the same pattern), all their motorcycles used this distinctive layout until the early 1980s. Many BMWs are still produced in this layout, which is designated the R Series.
During the Second World War, BMW produced the BMW R75 motorcycle with a sidecar attached. Featuring a unique design copied from the Zündapp KS750, its sidecar wheel was also motor-driven. Combined with a lockable differential, this made the vehicle very capable off-road, an equivalent in many ways to the Jeep.
In 1982, came the K Series, shaft drive but water-cooled and with either three or four cylinders mounted in a straight line from front to back. Shortly after, BMW also started making the chain-driven F and G series with single and parallel twin Rotax engines.
In the early 1990s, BMW updated the airhead Boxer engine which became known as the oilhead. In 2002, the oilhead engine had two spark plugs per cylinder. In 2004 it added a built-in balance shaft, an increased capacity to 1,170 cc and enhanced performance to 100 hp (75 kW) for the R1200GS, compared to 85 hp (63 kW) of the previous R1150GS. More powerful variants of the oilhead engines are available in the R1100S and R1200S, producing 98 hp (73 kW) and 122 hp (91 kW), respectively.
In 2004, BMW introduced the new K1200S Sports Bike which marked a departure for BMW. It features an engine producing 167 hp (125 kW), derived from the company's work with the Williams F1 team, and is lighter than previous K models. Innovations include electronically adjustable front and rear suspension, and a Hossack-type front fork that BMW calls Duolever.
BMW introduced anti-lock brakes on production motorcycles starting in the late 1980s. The generation of anti-lock brakes available on the 2006 and later BMW motorcycles pave the way for the introduction of electronic stability control, or anti-skid technology later in the 2007 model year.
BMW has been an innovator in motorcycle suspension design, taking up telescopic front suspension long before most other manufacturers. Then they switched to an Earles fork, front suspension by swinging fork (1955 to 1969). Most modern BMWs are truly rear swingarm, single sided at the back (compare with the regular swinging fork usually, and wrongly, called swinging arm). Some BMWs started using yet another trademark front suspension design, the Telelever, in the early 1990s. Like the Earles fork, the Telelever significantly reduces dive under braking.
In July 2007, the Italian-made Husqvarna Motorcycles was purchased by BMW for a reported €93 million. BMW Motorrad plans to continue operating Husqvarna Motorcycles as a separate enterprise. All development, sales and production activities, as well as the current workforce, have remained in place at its present location at Varese. Husqvarna manufactures motocross, enduro and supermoto motorcycles.
The New Class (German: Neue Klasse) was a line of compact sedans and coupes starting with the 1962 1500 and continuing through the last 2002s in 1977. Powered by BMW's celebrated four-cylinder M10 engine, the New Class models featured a fully independent suspension, MacPherson struts in front, and front disc brakes. Initially a family of four-door sedans and two-door coupes, the New Class line was broadened to two-door sports sedans with the addition of the 02 Series 1600 and 2002 in 1966.
Sharing little in common with the rest of the line beyond power train, the sporty siblings caught auto enthusiasts' attention and established BMW as an international brand. Precursors to the famed BMW 3 Series, the two-doors' success cemented the firm's future as an upper tier performance car maker. New Class four-doors with numbers ending in "0" were replaced by the larger BMW 5 Series in 1972. The upscale 2000C and 2000CS coupes were replaced by the six-cylinder BMW E9, introduced in 1969 with the 2800CS. The 1600 two-door was discontinued in 1975, the 2002 replaced by the 320i in 1975.
The 1 Series, launched in 2004, is BMW's smallest car, and is available in coupe/convertible (E82/E88) and hatchback (E81/E87) forms. The 3 Series, a compact executive car manufactured since model year 1975, is currently in its fifth generation (E90); models include the sport sedan (E90), station wagon (E91), coupe (E92), and convertible (E93). The 5 Series is a mid-size executive car, available in sedan (F10) and station wagon (F11) forms. The 5 Series Gran Turismo (F07), beginning in 2010, will create a segment between station wagons and crossover SUV.
BMW's full-size flagship executive sedan is the 7 Series. Typically, BMW introduces many of their innovations first in the 7 Series, such as the somewhat controversial iDrive system. The 7 Series Hydrogen, featuring one of the world's first hydrogen fueled internal combustion engines, is fueled by liquid hydrogen and emits only clean water vapor. The latest generation (F01) debuted in 2009. Based on the 5 Series' platform, the 6 Series is BMW's grand touring luxury sport coupe/convertible (E63/E64). A 2-seater roadster and coupe which succeeded the Z3, the Z4 (E85) has been sold since 2002.
The X3 (E83), BMW's second crossover SUV (called SAV or "Sports Activity Vehicle" by BMW) debuted in 2003 and is based on the E46/16 3 Series platform. Marketed in Europe as an off-roader, it benefits from BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system. The all-wheel drive X5 (E70) was BMW's first crossover SUV (SAV), based on the 5 series, and is a mid-size luxury SUV (SAV) sold by BMW since 2000. A 4-seat crossover SUV released by BMW in December 2007, the X6 is marketed as a "Sports Activity Coupe" (SAC) by BMW. The upcoming X1 extends the BMW Sports Activity Series model lineup.