The BMW Name,It’s History And It’s Legacy

March 20, 2022
Posted by: Pels Auto

We all know by now that the name BMW stands for driving pleasure. But what is this acronym actually short for? And how did the BMW name come about? Let’s dive in and read a bit more about the history of this much loved car!

Today’s BMW has its origin in Rapp-Motorenwerke GmbH, which began producing aircraft engines in 1913. During the First World War, Rapp supplied the air force of the German Empire. At that time, automobiles had not yet broken through into the mainstream. All long distances travel on land could only be done by train.


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What Does the “BMW” Acronym Stand For

The acronym BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH, which roughly translates to the Bavarian Engine Works Company. The name harks back to the company’s origin in the German state of Bavaria. It also indicates BMW’s original product range: engines for various applications.

A Quick Summary Of How It All Started

The corporate headquarters and parent plant of the BMW Group are still located at the former BFW site in Milbertshofen, Munich to this day.
  • The BMW name stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH
  • BMW was created in 1917 from the Munich firm Rapp-Motorenwerke.
  • The company was incorporated into Knorr-Bremse AG in 1920 before being refounded as BMW AG in 1922.
  • It was the successor of Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG, founded in 1916. 1916 is therefore considered BMW’s founding year.

Rapp Motorenwerke becomes BMW

Rapp Motorenwerke had its headquarters in the Bavarian capital, Munich. When the company went bankrupt in 1916, it became Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (BFW). Shortly afterwards, in 1917 , Rapp changed its company name to Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH.

But Then, the BMW name vanishes….

The end of the First World War brought a halt to the construction of aircraft engines. BMW shifted its focus to railway brakes and built-in motors. This was so successful that the Berlin-based brakes company Knorr-Bremse AG took majority ownership of BMW in 1920, integrated the company and relocated to Munich. Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH as an independent company disappeared temporarily from the scene – albeit not for long.

Then BMW were Founded For The 2nd Time

In 1922, Camillo Castiglioni, the main shareholder of Knorr-Bremse AG , bought the BMW company name and took over engine construction operations, along with the employees, production facilities and company logo, and transferred everything to BFW, Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG.

In the same year, the company moved into BFW’s factory buildings in Lerchenauer Strasse and changed its name to Bayerische Motoren Werke AG. And that’s how the BMW name found its way into the commercial register for a second time.

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