Friday, August 15, 2014

A Quick History - BMW

BMW History Logo
BMW Logo
BMW is a motorcycle, engine, and automobile manufacturer located in Germany. BMW began as a aircraft manufacturing firm in 1917, but at the end of World War I, BMW was forced to close due to the low demand for aircrafts. 

Deutsche Flugzeugweke F37 with BMW Engine
Deutsche Flugzeugwerke F37/III powered by a BMW IV Engine in 1919

Even though they opened back up in 1919, they were banned from making planes due to the Versailles Armistice Treaty. Instead they made engines for vehicles and boats and continued to grow. In 1923, Germany was in chaos from runaway inflation and several attempted coups, but BMW made the decision to resume production of their aviation engines. A major reason for this was the Soviet Union's interest in their engines and over the years the Soviet Union became one of the company's most important customers.

Throughout these years to the start of World War II, BMW made motorcycles and automobiles to help with business. However, with WWII on the horizon, the Nazi party demanded that plants begin making soley airplane engines. BMW argued saying that if there was ever a set back with the engines, the company would fail. 

1942 BMW WWII Motorcycle
1942 BMW R72 WWII Motorcycle

It wasn't long though before they were forced to completely abandon motorcycle and automobile production between 1940 and 1942. At the end of the war, BMW was producing massive amounts of engines, totaling over 30,000 in 1945. This was largely due to the fact that 50% of the workforce was forced labor. They were using concentration camp prisoners.

By the end of the war, BMW's factories had been largely reduced to rubble. The Munich plant was completely destroyed and the plants in East Germany had been seized by the Soviet Union. BMW was banned from production for three years and during this time they made bicycles and kitchen supplies out of scraps.

BMW began to pick up again in 1948, with a motorcycle. A car was introduced in 1952. The company continued to be unstable however until 1963.

1952 1964 BMW Car 501
BMW 501 Produced from 1952 to 1964

In the 90s, BMW joined with Rolls-Royce. However, Volkswagen won a bid against BMW to own Rolls-Royce shortly afterward. 

Click to see our 2008 BMW 528i Sedan!
Click to see our 2008 BMW 528i Sedan!

Sources: Wikipedia,; CJ Sidecar Motorcycles,; CCN,; The Detroit Bureau,;,

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