BMW Company (Bavarian Motor Works)
BMW Company was established in 1913. The person who founded the company was Karl Rapp. Before he worked in a German aircraft company as a director. He started the business in a very small scale. The name was Rapp Motor Works. In 1917 he resigned, led by Austrian engineer Franz-Joseph Popp, who changed the name to Bavarian Motor Works. In the same year Max Frizz, the chief engineer designed the company's first aircraft engine and when the treaty of Versailles prohibited German companies from producing aircraft engines in 1919.
Then BMW switched to making airbrakes to railway cars. Then in 1923, he developed the company's first motorcycle, R32 that held world speed records for motorcycle during most of the 1930's.
In 1928 the company entered the automobile business by acquiring Fahrzeugwerke Eisenach (Eisenach Vehicle Factory), a maker of small cars based in Eisenach, Germany. In the 1930s BMW began producing a line of larger touring cars and sports cars, introducing its highly successful model-the 328 sports car-in 1936.
After World War II ended in 1945, Allied forces dismantled the company's main factories. BMW made kitchen and garden equipment before introducing a new, inexpensive motorcycle to the German market in 1948. The company's return to auto production in the 1950s resulted in poor sales. In the 1960s the company turned its fortunes around by focusing on sports sedans and compact touring cars, and it began to compete with Mercedes-Benz in the luxury-car markets of Europe and the United States. BMW's U.S. sales peaked in 1986 but then dropped steeply, partly due to competition from two new luxury cars-Lexus, made by Toyota Motor Corporation, and Infiniti, made by Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. The 1989 collapse of the Berlin Wall led to a boom in car sales in Europe, and in 1992 BMW outsold Mercedes-Benz in Europe for the first time.
In 1990 BMW formed a joint venture with the British aerospace company Rolls-Royce PLC to produce aircraft engines for business jets. In 1992 BMW broke ground for a major automobile plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, its first automobile plant in the United States. In 1994 BMW acquired 80 percent of the Rover Group-a British manufacturer of small cars, luxury cars, and Land Rover sport-utility vehicles-from British Aerospace PLC. The $1.2 billion acquisition brought the company into new markets.
Rapp Motor Works Logo
BMW's first motorcycle engine
BMW Management Team
Dr. Helmut Panke
- Born in 1946
- 1990 - 1993 Head of Corporate Strategy and Coordination
- 1993 - 1996 Chairman and CEO BMW (US) Holding Corp.
- 1996 - 1999 Member of the Board of Management; Personnel and Information Technology - 1999 - 2002 Member of the Board of Management; Finance
- since 16 May 2002 Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG
- Born in 1962
- 1987 - 1993 BMW AG, Controlling
- 1993 - 1994 Head of Finance of Financial Services BMW USA - 1995 - 1997 General Manager Finance of Financial Services BMW USA - 1997 - 2000 General Manager Financial Services BMW USA
- 1998 - 2000 Head of Financial Services North America and South America - 2001 Head of Sales Region Europe
- since 16 May 2002 Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Finance
Human Resource, Industrial Relations
- Born in 1948
- 1991 - 1994 Technical Director BMW Plant South Africa
- 1994 - 1998 Director BMW Plant Regensburg
- 1998 - 1999 Director Product Line Manager 5 and 7 Series
- since 18 March 1999 Member of the Board of Management
Dr. Norbert Reithofer
- Born in 1956
- 1991 - 1994 Director of the Body-in-White Production Division - 1994 - 1997 Technical Director BMW South Africa
- 1997 - 2000 President BMW Manufacturing Corporation,...
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