BMW is one of the largest and most recognizable luxury car brands in the world. With millions of BMW vehicles on the road today, it’s almost impossible to drive around town without seeing a decent amount of their cars. As arguably one of the best-known German car manufacturers in the world, you may think you know everything about the luxury car company.
In this article, we’ll share seven interesting facts about BMW that you may not have known so you can have a deeper appreciation for the long history of impressive engineering that has led BMW to become one of the premier luxury car brands to ever exist.
Here are seven facts about BMW we think you’ll appreciate:
BMW Originally Built Plane Engines
BMW was initially a manufacturer of airplane engines and a good one at that. The company set records in aviation for both altitude and speed, making key advancements in the industry before making the switch to the auto industry.
BMW Stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke
Originally named Bayerische Flugzeugwerke or “BFW,” meaning Bavarian plane manufacturing, the company changed its name to Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) in 1917.
BMW Was Ahead of the Times with the Production of Electric Cars
Many people assume that electric cars are a modern invention. However, this is not the case and car manufacturers have tinkered with the concept since the early 19th century. The very first electric car was produced in 1828 but the fashion for this type of car saw a huge decline which wasn’t revived until the 1990s. It was during this decade that the larger car manufacturers began to produce electric versions of their models. BMW was well ahead of the game, though, and they had built their first electric vehicle in 1972 and this was called the BMW 1602e. Sadly, this never made it to the market. This was because it had only half the performance of the manufacturer’s other models and it could only hold a charge of 20 minutes. This was not a standard good enough to introduce the car onto the market. Although it failed to make it to the market, it laid the groundwork for future electric cars produced by BMW.
The BMW Logo is a Tribute to its Bavarian Roots
While some people believe the BMW logo represents the spinning propeller of a plane, hinting at the company’s history as airplane engine manufacturers, the design is a tribute to its roots in Bavaria, Germany. The iconic white and blue design reflects the blue and white pattern on the flag of Bavaria, where the company was born.
The Company is Over 100 Years Old
Because BMW is known for making ultramodern luxury cars with the latest features and technologies, you may think that the company was founded in the modern era. BMW was founded in 1916 and just recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The Colors Used in the Logo Represent Bavaria
The logo for BMW is distinctive and easily recognizable. It consists of a black circle with the interior quartered and the sections within are an alternate blue and white. Many people mistakenly believe that the logo is supposed to represent a spinning propeller, but that is not the case. The symbol was designed and the colors were chosen to represent the colors of Bavaria which is where the main headquarters of BMW is located. Blue and white are the national colors of Bavaria but that is not the only reason why this log was designed. The roundel was part of the original logo of the Rapp Motor company who was involved in the founding of BMW. Therefore, the logo was an important tribute to them and the role they played in the creation of BMW.
BMW Only Got into Automobiles after the Treaty of Versailles
One of the most incredible facts about BMW is that it only got into producing automobiles after the Treaty of Versailles following World War I. As a stipulation of the treaty, German companies were no longer allowed to produce warplanes and warplane engines. This forced the company to adapt and expand into the automobile industry.
BMW Made its First Electric Car in 1972
A leader in innovation since the company’s inception, BMW debuted its first all-electric car in 1972. The model was an electric version of the popular BMW 1602 and was more a feat of engineering than an actual product for purchase.
They Still Produce WWII Era Parts
Unlike many other luxury car brands, BMW continues to produce parts for many of its vehicles dating back to the 1940s. So, if you’re looking to restore an old BMW, you can fit it with the original parts it once had.
The Treaty of Versailles is the Reason BMW Began Making Cars
Bizarrely, the Treaty of Versailles is responsible for BMW manufacturing cars. During World War I, the company had produced plane engines. Following the war, the terms of the Treaty of Versailles banned German companies from producing both warplanes and engines for warplanes. For this reason, BMW was forced to diversify their company to remain in business. Originally, they shifted their focus to motorcycles before beginning car production in 1929. It was only because of the Treaty of Versailles that they began to manufacture cars. If it had not been for World War I, the history of BMW would be an entirely different story.