The company's tagline in English is currently "The Ultimate Driving Machine." The original German slogan is "Freude am Fahren", which translates to "Joy in Driving" in English.
BMW's main competitors include Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Saab and Porsche. Contents [hide]
1.2 World War II
1.3 Post-war history
1.4 "The English Patient"
1.5 Redesign Controversy
1.6 Production outside Germany
2.1.1 1 Series
2.1.2 3 Series
2.1.3 5 Series
2.1.4 6 Series
2.1.5 7 Series
2.4 Out of production
2.6 Series Generations
3 Related companies
9 See also
10 External links
BMW Headquarters in Munich, Germany.
The characteristic kidney grill was first seen on the BMW 303 in the early 1930s. Shown here is a BMW 2002. 
BMW was founded by Karl Friedrich Rapp in October 1913, originally as an aircraft engine manufacturer, Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke. The Milbertshofen district of Munich location was chosen because it was close to the Gustav Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik site, a German aircraft manufacturer. The blue-and-white roundel BMW still uses (illustrated above right) alludes to the blue and white checkered flag of Bavaria and also indicates the origin of BMW by symbolizing a spinning white propeller on a blue-sky background.
In 1916 the company secured a contract to build V12 engines for Austria-Hungary. Needing extra financing, Rapp gained the support of Camillo Castiglioni and Max Friz, the company was reconstituted as the Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH. Over-expansion caused difficulties; Rapp left and the company was taken over by the Austrian industrialist Franz Josef Popp in 1917, and named BMW AG in 1918.
After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles (1919) prohibited the production of aircraft in Germany. Otto closed his factory and BMW switched to manufacturing railway brakes.
In 1919 BMW designed their first motorcycle engine, used in a model called the Victoria which was built by a company in Nuremberg.
In 1923 BMW built their first model motorcycle, the R32. This had a 500 cc air-cooled horizontally-opposed engine, a feature that would resonate among their various models for decades to come, albeit with displacement increases and newer technology. The major innovation was the use of a driveshaft instead of a chain to drive the rear wheel. For decades to follow, the driveshaft was the mark of the BMW motorcycle.
In 1927 the tiny Dixi, an Austin Seven produced under licence, began production in Eisenach. BMW bought the Dixi Company the following year, and this became the company's first car, the BMW 3/15. By 1933 BMW were producing cars that could be called truly theirs, offering steadily more advanced I6 sports and saloons (sedans). The pre-war cars culminated in the 327 saloon and 328 roadster, fast 2.0 L cars, both very advanced for their time. 
World War II
BMW motorcycles, specifically the BMW R 12 and the BMW R 75 combination were used extensively by the Aufklärungsabteilung of German panzer and motorised divisions of the German Army, Waffen SS and Luftwaffe.
BMW was also a major supplier of engines to the Luftwaffe and of engines and vehicles, especially motorcycles, to the Wehrmacht. Planes using the aero-engines included the BMW 801, one of the most powerful available. Over 30,000 were manufactured up to 1945. BMW also researched jet engines, producing the...