BMW History: The 100 year Journey of Formation and Development
BMW is a very famous car brand in the world. Achieving much success in the automobile industry, BMW gradually became a symbol of greatness. Behind that success is a journey of development full of hardships but also very majestic. In today's article, let's learn about the history and development path of BMW.
Overview of BMW
Producing great cars with creative advertising over the past 40 years has helped BMW impress buyers with a car brand of sleek design, high performance and relative exclusivity. Owning a BMW is certainly something that is desirable for almost everyone.
While Mercedes-Benz has produced cars for Presidents, kings and tyrants since the 19th century, BMW has only been developed in recent years. Because it was founded during the war, BMW did not produce cars until the 20th year of its development journey. The company cherished the hope of changing its brand into a luxury car manufacturer, but unfortunately, World War II broke out, causing the company to be interrupted for 11 years in its efforts to do so.
That difficult period did not stop the progress of the Bavarian brand. The rise of this car brand has surprised the entire automotive world. No other car company has been able to combine performance, luxury and design as easily as BMW does. Currently, BMW has become one of the outstanding luxury car brands, reaching the top in most segments.
1910s: The Beginning
In 1916, aircraft engine manufacturer Rapp Motorenwerke changed its name to Bayerische Motorenwerke. The logo representing this manufacturer is a white and blue circle. Contrary to what people think, the company's logo is inspired by the Bavarian flag and does not represent a spinning propeller. After World War I, the company was bought by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (BFw) - a rival manufacturer - but kept the BMW name. After the defeat of the German army, the company focused on the production of industrial engines and brakes for trains.
1920s: Birth of the first BMW Car
BMW innovated with its entry into the R32 motorcycle business, a unique bike fitted with a 500 cc boxer engine and a crankshaft instead of the traditional chain. In 1928, the company acquired Dixi Automobil Werke and began building the 3/15 PS, later known as the BMW Dixi. This was the first car produced with the BMW circular logo on the grille.
1930s: BMW builds its first icon
The first car to use BMW's inline 6-cylinder engine and dual front grille was introduced in 1933, named 303. In 1936, the company continued to launch the 328, a roadster with a flat body. aluminum which has since become one of the symbols of pre-war European sports cars. Production was interrupted in 1940 when war resumed in Europe.
1940s: Back to World War
During World War II, the Nazis forced BMW to return to aircraft engines. During that time, the company produced more than 30,000 engines for the Luftwaffe including the 801, a 1,500+ horsepower engine commonly found on fighter aircraft. After that, the company continued to build R12 and R75 motorcycles for the military. After the war, the company's East Eisenach factory was occupied by the former Soviet Union to establish the East West Assembly and rebuild pre-war car models. BMW was in a state of turmoil at that time, the company had to produce pots and pans to compensate for motorbike sales to survive the decade.
1950s: BMW's "dying" period
After Ford and Simca completed their orders with BMW and left, BMW sales manager Hanns Grewenig pointed out that the company needed to focus on producing low-volume, profitable luxury cars. Accordingly, in 1951, the Baroque 501 was introduced to compete with Mercedes-Benz sedans but sales were quite slow. Following the advice of American importer Max Hoffman, the company focused all its resources on developing the 507 roadster.
The car was praised for its beautiful design, but the price was up to 12,000 USD, on par with Rolls-Royce, and the number of cars produced stopped at 252. BMW spent the rest of the decade building the Isetta, but continued to fall into financial crisis. So much so that in 1959, the board of directors thought about selling the company to Mercedes.
1960s: BMW's incredible comeback
In 1960, Herbert and Harold Quand became the company's main shareholders (remaining shareholders today) and reinvigorated BMW. The BMW 700 with its rear engine and cooling system became the most popular car in Europe. But the 1961 Neue Klasse cars were the golden key that put the company on the path to global success. New cars (pioneered by the 2002 coupe model) with compact, elegant design and unique sporty styling have brought to global enthusiasts the new concept of sports sedans. In 1963, for the first time since the 1930s, the company paid dividends to its shareholders. In 1966, it acquired Glass GmbH, tripling production capacity.
1970s: The birth of BMW as we all know it
With its globally successful Neue Klasse sports cars, BMW combines performance and luxury like no other automaker has done before. In 1972, the company established the Motorsport division to transition the CS coupe to the 3.0 CSL race car, one of the most dominant performance cars of the decade. In 1973, the 2002 model gained a turbocharged engine option and became the third turbocharged car in the company's history.
With a vision towards global expansion, the 2002 and 6 new sedan models were replaced by the 5 and 3 Series in 1972 and 1976 respectively. With the immortal slogan "Ultimate Driving Machine", BMW became the brand global luxury car and a formidable rival to Mercedes-Benz. Later in the decade, BMW released the M1, one of the most advanced and best-handling sports cars in the world.
1980s: A status symbol
In the early 1980s, BMW models largely found their own place in the market. Mainstream car models such as the 3 Series (with a 4-door version in 1982), 5 Series sedan, 6 Series coupe and 7 Series are all popular for their harmonious combination of simple style and excellent handling, great and high performance.
In 1986, BMW switched from the 5 Series to the M5, elevating the sports sedan to near supercar status. This was followed by the smaller track-oriented M3. With superb handling, a perfectly tuned suspension and a 300-horsepower inline-six engine, the first-generation M3 is considered the greatest BMW ever.
1990s: BMW's global dominance
After nearly a decade of development, the 5 and 7 Series gave way to the all-new 3 Series in 1991. The new models were sleeker, faster and more technology-focused than most contemporary opponents. In the roadster revival, the company launched the Z3 in 1995, followed by the Z8 in 1999 and both cars were featured in James Bond movies. In 1999, when SUVs were a hot design, BMW launched the X5 to compete with the ML-Class and Lexus RX.
In 1994, BMW built its first factory in the US and allowed cars produced in Kaliningrad, Russia to be exported to Eastern markets in 1999. In 1996, BMW acquired the British Rover Group, taking over car lines such as Mini, Land Rover, Rover and MG. Then, the company sold Land Rover to Ford and made Mini a sub-brand in 2000. In 1998, BMW acquired the Rolls-Royce.
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2000s: Controversial design change
In the first decade of the 21st century, Design Director Chris Bangle brought a breakthrough to vehicle design. The new 3, 5, 6 and 7 Series cars and the Z4 roadster caused a lot of controversy with their complex Baroque design, much different from the previous model.
While the new models of Mini and Rolls-Royce are quite "quiet", BMW continues to introduce a number of X-model crossovers and SUVs to attract customers. In terms of performance, the car that dominated the decade was the 2000-2006 E36 M3, the 333-horsepower coupe that followed the E30 and was the best-handling German car of the decade.
The 2010s: Looking to the future
With its more than 100-year history, BMW is known as a famous car brand. Except for the years of severe crisis (2009 - 2010), the brand's sales have increased continuously since 2002 and to date, this brand offers no less than 23 car models in the US car market alone, in which SUVs and crossovers account for the majority. The M3 and M5 are the best cars ever, the M6 Grand Coupe is a masterpiece and the M2 is considered one of the best cars on the planet.
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