BMW is the ultimate driving machine. Manufactured by the German company, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, BMW stands for both performance and luxury. The com- pany was founded in 1916 as an aircraft-engine manufac- turer and produced engines during World War I and World War II. It evolved into a motorcycle and automobile maker by the mid-20th century, and today it is an internationally respected company and brand with €53 billion (about $76 billion) in revenues in 2008. BMW’s logo is one of the most distinct and globally recognized ever created. The signature BMW roundel looks like a spinning propeller blade set against a blue sky background—originally thought to be a tribute to the company’s founding days as an aircraft engine manufac- turer. Recently, however, a New York Times reporter revealed that the logo, which features the letters BMW at the top of the outer ring and a blue-and-white checkered design in the inner ring, was trademarked in 1917 and meant to show the colors of the Free State of Bavaria, where the company is headquartered. BMW’s growth exploded in the 1980s and 1990s, when it successfully targeted the growing market of baby boomers and professional yuppies who put work first and wanted a car that spoke of their success. The result: sporty sedans with exceptional performance and a brand that stood for prestige and achievement. The cars, which came in a 3, 5, or 7 Series, were basically the same design in three different sizes. The 1980s was also a time when yuppies made Beemer and Bimmer, slang terms for BMW’s cars and motorcycles, popular names that are still used today. At the turn of the century, consumers’ attitudes toward cars changed. Research showed that they cared less about the bragging rights of the BMW brand and instead desired a va- riety of design, size, price, and style choices. As a result, the company took several steps to grow its product line by targeting specific market segments, which resulted in...
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