In 1916, the Flugmaschinenfabrik Gustav Otto company merged into Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke AG (BFW) and the Rapp Motorenwerke company became Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH (BMW) in the next year. The significance of both the BMW and BFW companies are from the former transferring its engine construction operations to the later in 1922, hence the official founding date in 1916. From there, the company went on to manufacture performance-based engines for both automobiles and aircrafts throughout the next several years in a post-WWI era.
The Beginning of Automotive
Before its eventual shift to manufacturing automobiles, BMW announced its first motorcycle in 1923, the BMW R 32. Until then, the company mainly manufactures engines as opposed to complete vehicles, indicating what was next to come for the company.
The First BMW Automobile
The year 1929 marked a significant change in BMW as it began a new chapter as an automobile manufacturer with the BMW 328. After the acquisition of Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach, who built the Austin Stevens, the first BMW car was built under license from the Austin Motor Company before creating their own designs in 1932. It wasn’t long until BMW would put automobiles to a halt as the company devoted all its materials to building aircraft engines again for the Second World War. But soon afterwards, BMW released its first post-war vehicle with the BMW 501 from 1952 and onwards.
More Than Just BMW
In 1967, BMW expanded its manufacturing by establishing its new BMW plant in Dingolfing, Germany after the main plant in Munich reached the limit of its capacity. Today, it not only manufactures a wide array of BMW Series vehicles, but it also builds the car bodies for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, another brand under the BMW Group after 1998.
After the company established its first automobile production facility in the United States in 1989, and has brought the BMW brand to North America. From there, the company unveiled the BMW 1 Series in 2004 and has since created the wide array of Series and X models that you see, today.