Translated into English, this is Bavarian Motor Works, more commonly known as BMW, or by the nickname, “Beamer”. Since 1916, the Company has been manufacturing automobiles, engines, and motorcycles. BMW also own the Mini Cooper brand, and is also the parent company of Rolls Royce. The motorcycles are produced under the name BMW Motorrad, and Husqvarna brands. BMW is known for both performance and luxury vehicles around the world. They are very popular in Hong Kong. And here in the US with yuppies and dinks.
If you saw the movie, “Finding Forrester” starring Sean Connery, you know about this next tidbit of information. Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown), who became of protegé’ of William Forrester (Connery), recited the history of BMW before and after World War I. In 1918, BMW was forced to cease aircraft engine production by the terms of the Versailles Armistice Treaty. By 1923, they shifted to motorcycle production, and to automobiles in 1928-29. In fact, the circular blue logo is meant to portray the movement of an aircraft propeller. But the BMW Museum in Munich strongly says the colors are meant to show the colors of the Free State of Bavaria.
BMW’s first aircraft engine was superior at high altitudes. When Germany rearmed in the 1930s, the company began producing engines for the Luftwaffe. In 1959, the company underwent serious financial difficulties. They got back on their feet by putting their motorcycle engine into the tiny Italian Iso Isetta, which they also manufactured. The controlling majority shareholder since 1959 is the Quandt family, which owns 46% of the stock. The rest is publicly owned.
In 1994, BMW bought the British Rover Group. They sold it after six years with Land Rover ending up at Ford. BMW retained the rights to the Mini, which was launched in 2001. The current chief designer is Adrian van Hooydonk, who replaced seventeen year veteran, Chris Gamble in 2009. Bangle was known for his radical design of my little Brutus, the 2008 Z4 sports car. Brutus was named for one of my favorite adult beverages, brut champagne! The Z4 was manufactured in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Z4 has a 215 HP, 3.0 liter, I6 engine. It has a manual shift steptronic automatic 6 speed transmission.
In 2009, BMW produced almost 1.3 million vehicles, and 83,000 motorcycles. Fifty six percent of BMW automobiles are powered by petrol, with the remaining 44% powered by diesel. Of the petrol machines, 27% are four cylinder engines and 9% are eight cylinder engines. The Mini came in slightly more than 213,000 with only 918 Rolls Royces.