MILESTONES
       
MILESTONES
       
    Defining moments in the history of the BMW Group
We invite you to take a tour through the history of the BMW Group and describe the most important milestones in its past.
   
     
 
   
 
2007 - Strategie Number ONE.
2007 - Strategie Number ONE.
In autumn 2007, BMW Group adopts the Strategy Number ONE with its four pillars: “Growth”, “Shaping the future”, “Profitability” and “Access to technology and customers”. It aligns the BMW Group with two targets: to be profitable and to enhance long-term value in times of change. The mission statement up to the year 2020 is clearly defined: the BMW Group is the world’s leading provider of premium products and premium services for individual mobility.
2007 - Takeover of the Husqvarna brand.
2007 - Takeover of the Husqvarna brand.
In August 2007, BMW Motorrad takes over Husqvarna Motorcycles, a Swedish company whose rich tradition dates back to 1903. As a leading supplier of sporty off-road motorbikes, the firm widens the product range of BMW Group with a host of lightweight machines. The head office, development, production and central sales and marketing organisation of Husqvarna all still reside in the northern Italian region of Varese.
2007 - Opening of BMW Welt.
2007 - Opening of BMW Welt.
The BMW Welt opened on the site to the west of the BMW Tower in October 2007. This forward-looking building designed by Viennese architect’s practice Coop Himmelb(l)au forms the portal for the brand and the delivery centre for BMW automobiles. BMW Welt, the plant tour and the BMW Museum create the ensemble of experience presenting the history, reality and vision of the BMW brand.
2005 - The Leipzig Plant starts up production.
2005 - The Leipzig Plant starts up production.
In May 2005, the BMW Leipzig plant celebrated its official opening. The plant was designed for daily production of 650 vehicles over the medium term, offering 5,500 jobs when the plant is operating at full capacity. The architectural profile in Leipzig is defined by the central building designed by Zaha Hadid, which was awarded the German Architecture Prize in 2005. The BMW 1 Series and the BMW X1 are manufactured at the BMW Leipzig plant. Production of the BMW i3 will be launched in 2013 as the first series electric car in the BMW Group. The BMW i8 sports car will follow shortly afterwards.
2004 - The BMW 1 Series – Driving pleasure for the compact class.
2004 - The BMW 1 Series – Driving pleasure for the compact class.
With the BMW 1 Series, BMW applies the hallmarks of the brand – exceptional driving dynamics and premium quality – to the compact segment. It is the only vehicle in its class
to feature a traditional drivetrain setup, with the engine at the front, and the drive at the
rear. This system ensures a more even distribution of weight, and improves traction. As such, the BMW 1 Series is unmistakeable as a BMW model, while offering all the benefits of the compact segment.
2003 - Rolls-Royce Motor Cars launches new Phantom on the market.
2003 - Rolls-Royce Motor Cars launches new Phantom on the market.
After intense development work, Rolls-Royce unveils the new Phantom in 2003. It offers a contemporary twist on classic Rolls-Royce design features, such as the brand’s
unique proportions, radiator grille, and rear-mounted doors (known as coach doors), and combines these with high-quality materials and state-of-the-art technology. The Phantom fully embodies the traditional values of Rolls-Royce and at the same time symbolises the successful relaunch of the brand. In September 2009, the new Rolls-Royce Ghost heralds the arrival of a second model family. The Ghost offers an authentic, though more informal interpretation of traditional Rolls-Royce values.
2003 - Rolls-Royce Plant Goodwood.
2003 - Rolls-Royce Plant Goodwood.
In the park of Goodwood House in West Sussex, located on the southern coast of England, the BMW Group opens the new manufacturing site for the production of Rolls-Royce automobiles in 2003. The first model to leave the production halls is the new Rolls-Royce Phantom. Every automobile is individually made.
2001 - The MINI – Premium in the small-car segment.
2001 - The MINI – Premium in the small-car segment.
First unveiled as a concept car in 1997, the new MINI is launched by the BMW Group in 2001 – the first premium vehicle in the small-car segment. The advanced design combined with the athletic, cheeky character expressed the lifestyle of an entire generation. The MINI Hatch made a start in 2001 – and by 2011 the MINI family had grown to six model versions, with the MINI Convertible, MINI Clubman, MINI Countryman, MINI Coupé and MINI Roadster.
2000 – MINI Plant Oxford.
2000 – MINI Plant Oxford.
In 2000, after the sale of the Rover Group, the modernised Oxford car factory, which has been used since 2001 to build the MINI, remained in BMW’s possession as did the new engine production plant in Hams Hall and the new press shop in Swindon . Initial production forecasts of 100,000 units per annum doubled to more than 230,000 units produced in 2007 owing to high global demand.
2000 - The BMW Group establishes a new trajectory.
2000 - The BMW Group establishes a new trajectory.
The realignment of Group strategy in 2000 strengthened the BMW Group and made it fit for the future. From the year 2000, the company resolved to focus solely on the premium segment in the international automobile market with the brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. The entire model range was expanded by new series and versions. Alongside the Sports Activity Vehicles in the X Series, the company also developed the first BMW in the premium segment of the compact class with the BMW 1 Series from 2004. The MINI brand was launched in 2001 and BMW took over brand responsibility for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in 2003.
2000 - The Eberhard von Kuenheim Foundation.
2000 - The Eberhard von Kuenheim Foundation.
BMW decides to celebrate the 70th birthday of its former Supervisory Board Chairman Eberhard von Kuenheim by establishing a further foundation named after von Kuenheim alongside the Herbert Quandt Foundation. This foundation was designed to enable the mentor of BMW’s success to pursue his objectives: promotion of the concept of free enterprise and the creation of modern elites to meet contemporary requirements.
1998 - Rolls-Royce comes to BMW.
1998 - Rolls-Royce comes to BMW.
In July 1998, BMW acquires a piece of automotive history. Following long negotiations, the company obtains the brand and naming rights for Rolls-Royce motor cars from Rolls-Royce plc. Rolls-Royce is held entirely by Volkswagen until the end of 2002, when BMW takes on full responsibility for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, along with all rights. The new Rolls-Royce plant and a new company headquarters are then built in Goodwood, in southern England. This is the sixth facility constructed since 1904, and is scheduled to manufacture newly developed Rolls-Royce models from the start of 2003.
1994 - Acquisition of the Rover Group.
1994 - Acquisition of the Rover Group.
At the beginning of 1994, the Board of Management supported by the Supervisory Board decided to purchase the Rover Group in the United Kingdom to expand its range of models. The group included distinguished brands with a long heritage such as Land Rover, Rover, MG, Triumph and Mini. BMW rapidly set about integrating the Rover Group in the BMW Group. Although strenuous efforts were made, the ambitious expectations could not be fulfilled. The framework conditions gradually deteriorated and BMW therefore decided to sell the Rover Group in 2000. Only the MINI brand remains with BMW today.
1994 - BMW goes to the USA.
1994 - BMW goes to the USA.
BMW decided to build an automobile production facility in the USA in 1989. This move highlighted its position as a global player. The plant in Spartanburg (South Carolina) was specially designed for production of the BMW Z3 Roadster and opened in 1994. The Z3 was exported from Spartanburg all over the world. The plant expanded its production facilities in the late 1990s, and today the BMW X3, X5 and X6 models are manufactured in Spartanburg.
1990 - The BMW Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ): 'think-tank' of a special kind.
1990 - The BMW Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ): 'think-tank' of a special kind.
In 1986, BMW brings together all research and development work under one roof at the Forschungs- und Innovationszentrum (Research and Innovation Centre, or FIZ) in Munich. It is the first automotive manufacturer to establish such an institution, which houses around 7,000 scientists, engineers, designers, managers and technicians, working together as part of an integrated team. The facility was officially opened on 27 April 1990. In 2004, the FIZ is expanded with the Projekthaus building. Incorporating the principles of “construction communications”, the development is completed in two years and spans 12,000 m². The nine-storey building offers an open gallery and atrium, and with its offices, studios and meeting rooms, forms the new heart of the FIZ. Today some 9,000 staff work at the FIZ.
1987 - BMW starts up in Regensburg.
1987 - BMW starts up in Regensburg.
The Munich BMW plant was now only building the 3 Series and a decision to build a new plant in Regensburg was taken on 26 November 1982. This was intended to meet the growing demand for this model and relieve the pressure on the BMW plant in Munich. The foundation stone was laid in the neighbouring community of Obertraubling in 1984 and the Regensburg plant was opened in 1987. Further expansion took place over the subsequent years.
1985 - BMW Technik GmbH.
1985 - BMW Technik GmbH.
BMW Technik GmbH was established as a think tank free from the constraints of series development. Some of the best BMW designers, engineers and technicians work there away from the routine of everyday operations to develop ideas and concepts for the BMW vehicles of tomorrow. One of the initial major projects of BMW Technik GmbH was the Z1 Roadster, which was produced as a small series in 1988.
1979 - BMW goes to Steyr.
1979 - BMW goes to Steyr.
BMW Steyr Motoren Gesellschaft was founded as a joint venture between BMW AG and Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG. An engine plant was built at Steyr in Austria based on plans drawn up by BMW AG. In 1982, BMW took sole responsibility for the plant and rebranded it as BMW Motoren GmbH, Steyr. The first diesel power unit came off the assembly line during the following year. Today, the plant is the centre of competence for diesel technology in the Group.
1973 - Worldwide creation of sales subsidiaries.
1973 - Worldwide creation of sales subsidiaries.
Sales Director Bob Lutz initiated a policy at BMW to take sales responsibility for all the major markets from the current importers from 1973 onwards. This responsibility was gradually transferred to dedicated subsidiary companies. France was the first country where BMW established its own sales company in 1973. Many other countries followed over the subsequent years and transformed BMW into a company operating on the global stage.
1973 - The BMW headquarters and the Museum.
1973 - The BMW headquarters and the Museum.
Starting in 1970, BMW began to build an administrative tower block in the north of Munich. Its unusual shape soon led to it being described as the "four-cylinder building", and it is now a notable landmark in the city's architecture. The BMW Museum was installed next to it in a bowl-shaped building that has remained unique of its kind. The new building complex was officially opened on 18 May 1973.
1972 - The founding of BMW Motorsport GmbH.
1972 - The founding of BMW Motorsport GmbH.
In 1972, BMW brings together all of its various motor racing activities within a new wholly owned subsidiary – BMW Motorsport GmbH. With the BMW Motorsport GmbH , BMW lays the foundations for BMW M GmbH. Over the following years, the subsidiary secures countless motorsport successes for BMW, while also being responsible for building particularly sports-focused BMW vehicles.
1972 - BMW starts up in South Africa.
1972 - BMW starts up in South Africa.
The Rosslyn plant near Pretoria, South Africa, was the first foreign location for the modern BMW Group. In 1972, the BMW Board of Management decided to take over the entire facility constructed by the importer and located in Rosslyn, South Africa. This entailed establishing the first production facility outside Germany. Assembly of the Glas 1800 SA started up in 1967 and the BMW 2000 SA followed later on. Following substantial investments, production of vehicles in the BMW 3 Series was launched there at the beginning of 1984.
1971 - BMW Kredit GmbH.
1971 - BMW Kredit GmbH.
BMW Kredit GmbH was set up as a new BMW subsidiary company to provide finance for the company’s own transactions and most importantly for the dealerships. The new company formed the foundation stone for the burgeoning finance and leasing business, which remains a crucial element in the company’s success.
1970 - The Herbert Quandt Foundation.
1970 - The Herbert Quandt Foundation.
BMW AG founded the Herbert Quandt Foundation to celebrate the landmark 60th birthday of its major shareholder. It developed into a foundation with an international reputation as a sponsor for transfer of knowledge and experience across the Atlantic. After the Cold War came to an end, the foundation also became an important platform for promotion of understanding between East and West, as well as within an expanded Europe.
1969 - Motorcycles to Berlin.
1969 - Motorcycles to Berlin.
BMW urgently needed more space at the Munich plant to meet the demands of expanding automobile production. In 1969, production of BMW motorcycles was therefore transferred to Berlin-Spandau. At the start of the 1970s, BMW launched a series of new models. The representatives of the /5 Series were the first BMW motorcycles to be manufactured completely at the Berlin-Spandau facility.
1967 - New location: the plant group Dingolfing.
1967 - New location: the plant group Dingolfing.
In the mid-1960s, the BMW Munich plant reached the limit of its capacity. BMW initially drew up plans for the construction of new facilities but then purchased crisis-ridden automotive company Hans Glas GmbH together with its locations in Dingolfing and Landshut. Both sites were restructured and the biggest BMW plant in the world was created at Dingolfing in the subsequent decades.
1961 - The New Class makes a breakthrough.
1961 - The New Class makes a breakthrough.
BMW exhibited the 1500 model at the 1961 German Motor Show, and with it penetrated a gap in the market. This was the model that re-established BMW as a successful, modern carmaker. The design of the four-door touring car immediately generates excitement, and orders far exceed production capacities. By 1963, the company is able to record a profit once more.
1959 - BMW remains independent.
1959 - BMW remains independent.
As the 1950s progressed, the position of the company became increasingly precarious. At the end of 1959, Daimler-Benz submitted a restructuring offer for BMW subject to a time limit for acceptance. But small shareholders and the workforce rejected this offer at the Annual General Meeting held on 9 December. Their perseverance and his confidence in the BMW 700 motivated Herbert Quandt to expand his package of shares. After the government provided some temporary financial assistance, BMW was restructured under Quandt’s management in the following year.
1951 - The BMW 501. The first post-war BMW automobile.
1951 - The BMW 501. The first post-war BMW automobile.
BMW's first post-war automobile was the 501, built from 1952 onwards. A large saloon capable of seating up to six people, it was powered by a developed version of the six-cylinder engine used in the pre-war BMW 326. As a luxury car, the BMW 501 was not a commercial success, but it none the less restored BMW's status as a manufacturer of high-quality, technically exciting cars.
1948 - A motorcycle from nothing. The BMW R 24.
1948 - A motorcycle from nothing. The BMW R 24.
The first BMW vehicle to take to the road after 1945 was the R 24 motorcycle, introduced in March 1948; it was a developed version of the pre-war R 23 model. Shortages of materials and machinery delayed series production until December 1948, but the sales success of the R 24 then exceeded all expectations, and 9,144 were sold in 1949 alone.
1945 - The Munich plant is dismantled.
1945 - The Munich plant is dismantled.
In October 1945, the US military government issued a command for dismantling the BMW plants in Munich and Allach. This meant that BMW lost the power of disposal over its assets until 1949, and in Allach this loss of control in fact lasted until 1955. A large proportion of the intact machines were dismantled at the Munich-Milbertshofen plant and shipped all over the world as reparations.
1945 - Reconstruction difficulties.
1945 - Reconstruction difficulties.
After the Second World War, allied soldiers requisitioned and occupied the BMW plants. Since BMW had been classified as an armaments company, the machines and tools were dismantled. From 1945 onwards stopgap production, mainly of kitchen utensils, was started in Milbertshofen - as was also the case at the Berlin plant.
1942 - Forced labour at BMW.
1942 - Forced labour at BMW.
BMW takes on its first foreign workers in 1940, employing them on the factory floor. From 1942, convicts, Eastern European prisoners of war, and predominantly Western European forced labourers are made to work at BMW alongside concentration camp prisoners. As in the majority of German industries, the company’s management has a technocratic approach and is focused on efficiency. The use of forced labour is tacitly approved and accepted. During the Third Reich, forced labourers must work in deeply distressing conditions. Today, BMW is painfully aware of the great human suffering caused by this, and deeply regrets the fate of the forced labourers.
1941 - BMW in World War II.
1941 - BMW in World War II.
During the Second World War, BMW was classified as a German armaments and war materials manufacturer, and devoted its resources almost exclusively to building aircraft engines for the German Air Force. Other plants were opened in addition to those in Munich and Eisenach.
1939 - BMW takes over Brandenburgische Motorenwerke.
1939 - BMW takes over Brandenburgische Motorenwerke.
Brandenburgische Motorenwerke GmbH (Bramo) in Berlin-Spandau, previously Siemens Apparate- und Maschinenbau GmbH, and BMW merged the development of air-cooled aero-engines. One year later, shortly before the start of the Second World War, BMW took over Bramo and integrated the Spandau Plant as BMW Flugmotorenwerke Brandenburg GmbH into BMW AG.
1936 - Establishment of the “Shadow Plant” Allach.
1936 - Establishment of the “Shadow Plant” Allach.
BMW AG and BMW Flugmotorenbau GmbH established Flugmotorenfabrik Allach GmbH. Just one year later, they assigned their shares to Luftfahrtkontor GmbH Berlin, which secretly subsidised the BMW Plant Allach near Munich with government funding. By 1941, the plant had been significantly expanded for industrial production of aero-engines.
1934 - Aero-engine manufacture becomes autonomous.
1934 - Aero-engine manufacture becomes autonomous.
Starting in 1933, aircraft construction in Germany received substantial financial support from the government. In 1934, BMW AG hived off its aero-engine division to BMW Flugmotorenbau GmbH. Two years later Flugmotorenfabrik Eisenach GmbH was established jointly by the AG (public limited company) and the GmbH (private limited company) and the letters BMW were included in the name in 1939.
1928 - BMW begins automotive construction.
1928 - BMW begins automotive construction.
BMW became an automobile manufacturer in 1928 by purchasing the company known as Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach. Until the Second World War broke out, all BMW cars were made at this plant in the Thuringia region of Germany. The first BMW small car was built under licence from the Austin Motor Company in 1929, but was superseded by the company's own designs in 1932.
1923 - BMW R 32 – the first BMW motorcycle.
1923 - BMW R 32 – the first BMW motorcycle.
BMW announced its first motorcycle, the R 32, in 1923. Until then the company had only supplied engines rather than complete vehicles. The basic concept of the original BMW Motorrad model – a boxer engine with longitudinally positioned cylinders and shaft drive – is so sound, that it continues to be employed in the company’s motorcycles to this day.
1922 - Company relocation and new beginning.
1922 - Company relocation and new beginning.
After the end of the war, railway brakes and inboard engines were manufactured following the prohibition on the production of aero-engines. After the company was sold to Knorr Bremse AG in 1920, financier Camillo Castiglioni acquired engine production along with the workforce and production facilities, the company name and the logo in white and blue. He then transferred everything to “Bayerische Flugzeuge-Werke AG” (BFW). That same year the company relocated to the production facilities of BFW at Munich’s Oberwiesenfeld airfield. The main plant and the Headquarters of the BMW Group are still at this location today.
1917 - The BMW Emblem.
1917 - The BMW Emblem.
From 1917, each of the company’s products proudly displays the BMW emblem, which incorporates the state colours of Bavaria. At the end of the 1920s, the emblem makes its first appearance in the company’s advertising as a rotating propeller – taking a form that will be used as the logo long into the future.
1916 - Establishment of BMW.
1916 - Establishment of BMW.
BMW can trace its roots back to Karl Rapp and Gustav Otto. In 1916, the Flugmaschinenfabrik Gustav Otto company had merged into Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke AG (BFW) at government behest. Elsewhere, in 1917, the Rapp Motorenwerke company morphed into Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH, which was duly converted into an AG (public limited company) in 1918. BMW AG subsequently transferred its engine construction operations – including the company and brand names – to BFW in 1922. The date of BFW’s founding, 6 March 1916, has therefore gone down in history as the birth-date of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG.