BMW – What’s in a brand
BMW began its storied legacy early last century as a small aeroplane engine company. Over the process of a century, this small company has grown and evolved to become one of the most important luxury car brands in the world, earning a respected global legacy through automotive innovation, and motorsports excellence.
Surviving 2 world wars and rapid technological evolution, BMW has grown from a small manufacturing outfit just off Munich into a global empire with over 30 facilities worldwide. In this series, we will be exploring some of the more interesting bits of the brand you might not know of.
What’s in a name?
Founded in 1916, BMW was a merging of 2 companies when Flugmaschinenfabrik Gustav Otto company, a pioneering aircraft producer merged with Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (BFW). BMW’s corporate history considers the founding date of BFW (7 March 1916) to be the birth of the company.1
The history of the name itself begins with Rapp Motorenwerke, which was established in 1913 by Karl Rapp. Its Bavarian roots, which is apparent in its name today is based on their base of operations; site near the Oberwiesenfeld was chosen because it was close to Bayerische Flugzeugwerke. It was in Bavaria where he changed the name of Rapp Motorenwerke to Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), and eventually transferred its engine construction operations, including the company, and along with it the BMW brand name to BFW2.
With that, a legend was born.
How do you pronounce the name?
BMW is the acronym everyone uses to describe the world-renowned car brand. The full name, Bayerische Motoren Werke – or Bavarian Motor Works.
In its native German, The ‘W’ sound changes into a ‘V’. Phonetically, it’s pronounced like this: B-M-V. In its entirety, it’s pronounced: Buyer-shuh Mo-touren-verka
Why do I call it a Bimmer?
There are many legends on how the nickname was coined, but one of our favourite ones came through BMW’s American motorcycling roots. In the 1970s, BMW was very active in motorcycle racing, and a fierce rivalry with motorcycle manufacturer BSA was established during this period. Journalists and fans dubbed the rivalry as BSA versus BMW, or the Beesers vs the Bimmers. While BSA soon became a vintage brand, the bimmer nickname soon crossed over to its four-wheeled cousins and has become synonymous with the BMW brand with millions around the world.
What’s the logo all about?
As the name BMW reflects its geographical origins, so does the logo. The quarters of the inner circle on the BMW emblem displays the state colours of the State of Bavaria – white and blue. The logo was made official on October 5th, 1917, as the newly-established BMW received their new badge, and was registered in the German Imperial Register of Trademarks3.
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This article was inspired by the BMW Explained series on bmw.com
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