What Does BMW Stand For?

by Dan Ferrell
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Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, translated means Bavarian Motor Works, is known worldwide for the BMW acronym and is the leading global European automotive manufacturer based in Germany. Although BMW began in 1913 as a shop for aircraft engines, the company entered motorcycle manufacturing in order to stay in business. It was not long after its R32 motorcycle started setting speed records that BMW began its historical race into the automobile industry.


As a consequence of World War II, BMW suspended auto manufacturing a few years after introducing its famous 328 sports car in 1936. But after 1950, the German auto maker made a comeback. This time, its focus on sport sedans and touring cars turned the company to worldwide fame, success and into a fierce Mercedes-Benz competitor.


BMW has not only had an impact on the luxury-car market around the world. Bavarian Motor Works has been known for its top-of-the-line race motorcycles and cars throughout the company's history. It even outfits other teams with BMW engines for Formula One and Two races.


Perhaps one of BMW's most renowned lines has been the 5 Series, started in 1972. The 5 Series feature a body concept produced by Italian auto designer Marcello Gandini. Gandini also gave birth to many classics including the Alfa Romeo Montreal, Ferrari Dino 308GT4, Lamborghini Diablo, and Maserati Shamal. The 3 Series, compact executive vehicles, have seen 5 redesigns since introduction in 1975 due to its worldwide success, representing 40 percent of auto sales in 2005; in 2004, BMW began global production of the 1 Series, a small luxury car and the only rear-wheel drive in its class. Other BMW classics include the 3/15 "Dixi," 507 Roadster and 319 4-Window Cabriolet.


BMW has become part of many cultures around the world. Enthusiasts of the German vehicle model are known world wide as "Beemers." The term was coined when BMW motorcycles began racing against the Birmingham Small Arms -- BSA, known as the "Bis" -- Company, a former British manufacturer of vehicles, firearms and military equipment.

Theories and Speculation

The German auto manufacturer has demonstrated that its innovation reaches beyond the realm of motor engineering. It has also become the first auto maker to reach into the Internet generation with its "The Hire" mini-film series on its website. "Star," the fourth in the five-part series, features Guy Ritchie directing his then wife Madonna in this 9 minute ad-film. Clive Owen appears as "the driver" throughout the series, each part featuring an enigmatic protagonist and a super director, showing off, of course, BMW models.

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