BMW is an automolistic brand that was founded in 1913 by Karl Rapp as Rapp Motorenwerke. It would change it’s name in 1917. It would start as an airplane engine manufacturer, however after the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles it was prohibited to make airplane engines for 5 years.
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After this BMW started producing motorcycle engines, farm equipment, household items… It became an automobile manufacturer in 1928 when it bought Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach. Throughout the 1930s, BMW expanded its range into sports cars and larger luxury cars. During the Second World War its main product was aircraft engines using forced labour from concentration camps. Although, during the war many factories were bombed and since after the war they were banned from producing engines of any kind. The company survived by making pots, pans and bycicles.
In 1948, BMW restarted motorcycle production and car production in 1952.
In 1959 it was almost overtaken by Daimler-Benz because of the slow sales of luxury cars. Thanks to the investment by Herbert Quandt and Harald Quandt the company managed to survive.
Throughout the 1960s, BMW expanded its range by adding coupe and luxury sedan models.
In 1978 the BMW M division released its first road car, a mid-engine supercar and in 1986 they introduced the first V12 in the 750i luxury sedan.
In 1994 they would purchase the Rover Group but it would produce huge financial losses and they would end up selling it in 2000 only retaining the mini brand.
In 1998 they purchased the majority of Rolls Royce.
In 1999 they would enter the SUV market with the BMW X5. In 2006 they introduced the first ever mass produced turbo charged petrol engine, with most engines switching over to turbocharging over the 2010s. In this same decade, BMW would found Project I which aim is to produce electric cars. The BMWi is a sub brand made in 2011 just for the creation of electric cars.
The i3 all-electric car and the i8 plug-in hybrid were the first two models of these type of cars. Global sale of both these cars surpassed the 50,000 units in January of 2016.
As of 2020, BMW had announced the launch of two new i all-electric models, the BMW iX3 SUV by late 2020, and the BMW i4 four-door sedan in 2021.
BMW produces motor vehicles in 9 countries and sells around 2 and a half million cars every year.
In 2020 it ranks 10th in sales just behind Mercedes.