BMW are one of the three big mainstream luxury car manufacturers. The badge is synonymous with reliability and quality. How do they ensure they maintain this reputation, and what parts of their history really stand out as key moments?Here we will look at some of the brands history, clever business decisions and biggest achievements.
Most people these days are aware that BMW stands for Bavarian Motor Works. However, not everyone understands where the logo comes from. The blue and white segments are from the Bavarian flag. The shape is inspired by a planes propeller, hinting at the companies’ early aeronautical roots.
Quality, quality, and then some more quality
If you supply BMW with parts then you must agree to work to their very high standards. BMW hold all suppliers and individual members of their own staff directly accountable for the quality of their work. No pressure then!
Every April fools day BMW runs a fake advert aimed at entertaining the shrewd and confusing the gullible. They have announced such technological breakthroughs as ‘Canine repellent alloy protection’, the optional extra of a miniature windscreen wiper to keep your BMW badge clean, and the BMW SHEF (Satellite Hypersensitive Electromagnetic Foodration) interface which allows you to connect and control your oven, adjusting cooking times according to traffic. One of our favourites is the announcement that the UK government where introducing slow cameras, for people who cause danger by driving to far below the speed limit. Apparently BMW had produced a ZIP (Zoom Impression Pixels), which blurs the car and gives the appearance of speed to fool the cameras.
Whilst we are all familiar with the BMW model series such as the 3 and 5 series, many enthusiasts also refer to their model by the E code. You see people referring to their cars as E92, E12 etc. This allows them to ascertain the exact model. This E code comes from the design process. Cars are given an Entwicklung number. This literally translates to ‘development’. So each E code is the BMW internal development number.
No Car No Cry
Whilst the three letters have always stood for the same thing, many people have used them to garner the cars with a nickname. Bob Marley drove a BMW and as far as he was concerned it stood for Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Luxury begets luxury
When the parent company of Rolls Royce decided to sell the luxury brand BMW were clear favourites. However, VW outbid them late on and won the rights. What VW maybe didn’t realise was they had purchased the assets and the rights to use the grill and the lady, but not the Rolls Royce name. Another company owned the name. BMW bought the name of them at a fraction of the cost VW had paid, leaving VW capable of producing a Rolls Royce but not able to use the badge. A deal was struck where they collaborated for 4 years, after which BMW gained sole ownership of Rolls Royce and VW retained Bentley.
The M badge has long been one of the most desirable performance brands in the marketplace. Initially established in 1972 with just 8 employees, it was tasked with leading the charge in the BMW motorsport program. It wasn’t until 1978 that the first M car was available to the public. The M1 was launched at the Paris motor show. Only a year later the M535i was released. The M marque has been a firm favourite ever since.
Bond, James Bond
The infamous super spy has found himself behind the wheel of a BMW several times. He has driven a Z3, 750iL and a Z8. In addition to these the secret agents cheeks even once graced a BMW R1200C motorcycle.
They have used ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’ for more than 35 years now. This shows consistency in what they are trying to achieve, not fly by night spinning by PR men.
The Company was initially founded in 1916 as BFW, and then changed its name in 1917 after a restructuring of Rapp Motorenwerke Aircraft Manufacturing.