BMW is a German manufacturer of automobiles, motorcycles, and aircraft engines. It is one of the top luxury car manufacturers in Europe, North America, and the world today. The company?s initials, BMW, stand for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which in English translates to Bavarian Motor Works. BMW is based in Munich, Germany, and is Europe?s leading automobile exporter.
The company can trace back its history to 1913, when Bavarian Karl Rapp started an aircraft engine shop and self-named it Rapp Motor Works. When Rapp resigned, in 1917, the company was taken over by Austrian engineer Franz-Josef Popp who renamed it to what it is currently known as. That same year, Max Friz, the company?s chief engineer, designed BMW?s first aircraft engine. This in turn created a strong demand for BMW?s engines. In effect, BMW?s emblem reflects the company?s beginnings by representing a rotating airplane propeller. Then, when the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 prohibited German companies from fabricating aircrafts and aircraft engines, the company began producing air brakes for railways.
In1923, BMW launched its second product line, the R32, a motorcycle, which kept its record speed in motorcycles, for most of the 1930?s.