BMW (short for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, or Bavarian Motor Works in English) is a luxury German automaker that also produces engines and motorcycles based in Munich. BMW was formed in 1917 by Franz Josef Popp and also produces MINI vehicles, in conjunction with its parent status over the Rolls-Royce brand. Its motorcycle brands are named BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna, and are a large part of the company's business structure.
BMW began as a business under the name Rapp Motorenwerke aircraft engine company in 1917. Today, BMW's white and blue circular logo, featuring airplane blades slicing through a blue sky, harkens back to this period- though it wasn't officially adopted as the logo until 1929. The blue and white colors are also traced to the colors on the Bavarian flag. Following the cessation of WWI around 1918, the company was made to cease production of aircraft engines due to the Versailles Armistice Treaty; so, BMW decided to shift to motorcycle production by 1923 when some of the limits lessened on vehicle production. By 1928, BMW was producing automobiles. The original BMW automobile was the Dixi, which was based on the Austin Motor Company's Austin 7. The Dixi won its first race in 1930, and went on to sell about 30 thousand units overall. BMW underwent some financial difficulties, but the company managed to acquire several smaller operations, including the Hans Glas company in 1966 to better develop a better timing belt, the DesignworksUSA company (finalized in 1995), and the British Rover Group in 1994 (which included, Land Rover, Rover, and MG brands, in addition to Morris and Autin brand rights), and possessed it for six years. By 2000, BMW decided to sell the company to cut its losses, and Ford picked up the several brands. BMW did have the rights to build the new MINI, which premiered in 2001.
Some of the most popular BMW models currently include the BMW 3 Series, available from 2005 to the present in convertible, coupe, sedan, and wagon variation, the BMW 5 series, available since 2010 in wagon and sedan variations, and the BMW X5 Series, available since 2006. The BMW 3 Series compact executive car is known for being one of the best-entry level sedans money can buy. It's now in its sixth year of the present generation, and is one of the most popular BMW vehicle ever made; it's not just trendy at the moment. The BMW 5 Series possesses a excellent combination of technology, comfort, and performance; it's a top contender in the midsize luxury sedan market. Last, but certainly not least is the BMW X5 Series, available in both compact crossover SUV and Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) variations. The X5 Series is known for its excellent handling and performance. Enthusiasts are sure to swoon over the newest model X5.
Over the years, BMW has competed against several other luxury manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, and Lexus; however, it continues to outshine its competition on several levels due to its dedication to quality manufacturing practices.