BMW has come a long way since its inception as a manufacturer of aircraft engines for one of the most popular family, luxury and sports car manufacturers today.
The company started in 1913 as the Rapp-Motorenwerke company, which made aircraft engines, before merging with the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke factory, which is located near Munich, 1922. The letters BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke.
In its early days, BMW mainly produced aircraft engines and sometimes motorcycle engines. In fact, the BMW brand was designed to resemble an aircraft player, and it was only in 1929 that the company became a car manufacturer after purchasing the Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach factory that produced Austin Sevens.
Development of the car's style made over time, in 1936, BMW began producing the 328 sports car which continued to enjoy incredible success. In 1999, the BMW 328 was nominated as the car of the century.
During the three years leading up to World War II, BMW made aircraft engines, motorcycles and cars. During the war, the company focused on aircraft engines and stopped making cars altogether. In 1948, motorcycle production began again, but it wasn't until 1952 that BMW started building cars again. The launch of the BMW 501 luxury car, however, was not a big hit, and the company did not make a profit and so the company took with it design and manufacturing rights to Isetta - a micro car that is cheap to manufacture - and began selling them.
BMW's happiness is changing over the next decade, and the 1960s were a great success for the company. The BMW 1500, a four-cylinder sports car, was introduced in 1961 followed shortly by the BMW 2002, a two-door car that was in production until 1976 and was the forerunner of the BMW 3 series.
The 70s saw BMW continue to build its reputation for creating original and sought after cars, as this decade saw the launch of the 3, 5 and 7 series. Between 1970 and 1993, BMW increased its production fourfold and sales by an incredible 1700%.
Between 1994 and 2000, BMW had ownership of the British Rover Group, but the venture did not succeed and the company soon got rid of Rover. However, BMW retained the rights to the Mini and has had - and continues to enjoy - great achievement in this business.
Today, BMW is seen as an innovative manufacturer and has a reputation for excellence, both for its design and quality of cars.