BMW - a guide of all you ever wanted to know

Essay by godsitsoutCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2007

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HistoryIn 1913 Karl Rapp opened and aircraft-engine design shop near Munich which he names Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW). By the end of World War I however, Germany's Aircraft production was forced to cease due to the Treaty of Versailles. As a result BMW shifted its focus from aircraft engines to railway brakes. In 1923 BMW introduced its first motorcycle the R32, later in the decade BMW would purchase a small car company and start producing cars as well. In 1933 BMW launched a longer line of cars.

Starting in the Mid 1930s BMW started producing aircraft engines again for Hitler's Luftwaffe. By 1941 BMW stopped all auto and motorcycle production to focus on producing aircraft engines. However, at the end of World War II the US military issued orders for BMW to dismantle their plants. This combined with plants destroyed during the war left BMW scraping to survive by producing kitchen and garden equipment.

By 1948 BMW was saved by the R24, a motorcycle which sold spectacularly in a country that was in short supply of transportation after the war. 18% of BMW's motorcycles were being exported by 1950.

By the late 1950s BMW's situation was becoming precarious. Their products were large and expensive, and their sales started to drop. In 1959 BMW rejected an offer by Daimler-Benz to restructure the company for a limited time. Instead Herbert Quandt bought majority control for about $1 million and changed the focus towards sport sedans. In 1961 the "new range" of BMW's were first released and met with large success. By the 1970s BMW's exports had soared and they set up a distribution subsidiary in the US. Also during this time they started to produce larger cars that put them on par with Mercedes-Benz. During the 1980s Japanese motorcycles which were produced...