BMW, or Bayerische Motoren Werke, was founded by Sir Franz Josef Popp based in Germany in 1916. Today BMW is headquartered in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Having an employee count of more than 105,000 as of 2012, BMW has been one of the most admired and trusted automobile manufacturers besides Audi and Mercedes-Benz.


BMW owns and is the parent company to much revered, royal-class auto maker, Rolls-Royce motor cars, and the small but quirky hatchback segment, Mini. Currently, BMW manufactures and produces cars and motorcycles under the BMW Motorrad brand name. The company currently forms the “German Big 3” trio alongside Audi and Mercedes-Benz being the other two.

History and Founders

Initially, BMW was founded by Franz Josef Popp, Karl Rapp and Camillo Castiglioni through an aircraft manufacturing firm named Rapp Motorenwerke. In 1918, after the first world war, the firm was forced to stop making aircraft engines and they switched to production of motorcycles by 1923.

Soon after that, the brand went on to produce the motorcycles on a commercial level. The company got a green signal for the manufacturing of aircraft manufacturing unit, following the removal of the treaty, a few years later in 1930.

Facing a stiff financial crisis in 1959, it was decided that instead of liquidating the company, they would switch over to a new sector, automobile manufacturing.

BMW had produced the BMW IIIa, which was its first aircraft engine, back in 1918. Having an electrifying performance and agility, the engine soon became popular for its consumers. Later on, the company would be known for producing the jet-engines and warcraft designs for the aircrafts used in the world war II.

Manufacturing Cars

Owing to their switch as an automobile manufacturing unit, BMW acquired Hans Glas Company in 1966. Based on its Austin 7 model, BMW’s first car was named the ‘Dixi’. In the year 1992, BMW went on to acquire a large California based stake industrial design studio for the production and development in the US.

Two years down the line, since the acquisition, the company grabbed the British Rover Group. The group was essentially a merger of the Rover with Land Rover, MG and other brands like Austin and Morris. Facing a loss from the group in 2000, Ford bought the group from the Phoenix Consortium where it was listed for sale by BMW.

BMW has been voted as the most successful automobile production unit with over 1.8 million automobiles and more than 100,000 motorcycles as of 2012, owing to their quality and manufacturing processes. The production of BMW automobiles and motorcycles has seen a steep rise over the last couple of years.

Successful Years and Racing History

BMW has been reported to have increased the production of the automobiles specifically to meet the market demands with more than 6 assembly operations across Middle-East, South-East, Russia and Egypt. BMW has earned a great success at different Formula One races besides being a brand name in luxury automobiles and Motorrads. Reports suggest that a typical formula one race consists of more than 20 BMWs participating in it. BMW has had a taste for success at many different events like the Sauber F1 team at the Canadian Grand Prix back in 2008.

Today, BMW sponsors a variety of sporting events and leagues which include events at the Olympics, football clubs, European golf events, US Olympic committee and the PGA championship which includes the BMW Italian open in Germany and the BMW international open. The logo of the company traces its lineage back to the Rapp Motorenwerke company’s circular logo incorporating the colors of the Bavarian flag.

Today, the company is being handled by CEO Harald Kruger who has been working for the company since 1992 and is also the chairman of the Board of Management. The company is however owned by Stefan Quandt who claims 29% of the shares of the company and Susanne Klatten who claims 21% shares of the company with the rest 50% being publicly owned.