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BMW - the reliable engine

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  BMW

BMW - the reliable engine

John Gibb
August 12, 2006

I bet you don’t know what BMW stands for. It’s just one of those things you don’t really think about, isn’t it? But now you’re wondering, so I’ll put you out of your misery: it stands for Bavarian Motor Works. It is a company that has stayed true to its history, not changing its name, not changing its logo (which is derived from the Bavarian flag).

The company was established in 1913, at first intending to make plane parts but quickly dropping the idea in favour of motor vehicles when the 1919 Treaty of Versailles banned Germany from building aircraft. This paid off for the company, who set about making a name for themselves, first in motorcycles and then in cars.

However, the period in World War II when Hitler took over BMW and used its vehicles for war had a devastating effect on the company, and it took it until the late 1950s to recover. It was the launch of the BMW 1500 in 1961 that really made their name, and began to earn them a name for very well-made cars. By the ‘70s, BMW was one of the biggest and most successful car manufacturers in the world.

Most BMW cars are still made in Germany, but the company has been courting controversy in its homeland by gradually moving more and more production to China and Eastern Europe. It remains to be seen if this will damage their reputation for German engineering, or simply allow BMW cars to come down in price.

Today, BMW cars are considered by many to be expensive, but worth the price, because of the sheer reliability of their engines. They are often driven by the more mature kind of wealthy people who don’t want showy, fast cars like Ferraris – they just want a conservatively-designed car that works with no fuss. John Gibb is the owner of BMW facts For more information on BMW's check out http://www.bmw-resource2k.info

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