Ever since its debut into the automotive industry on March 7, 1916, the BMW Group has been guided by independence, courage and resilience. It has demonstrated these attributes in its competition against some of the biggest automotive brands in the world.
On March 7, 2019, the company turned 103 years old. As part of its celebrations, it took a look down memory lane, recounting its journey. It has experienced a series of events. Coming out strong out of them all, BMW stands tall as an automotive brand to reckon with.
Naijauto.com brings you BMW achievements over its 103 years!
#1. Year 1919, BMW's First high-altitude flight
Franz Zeno Diemer, an experienced pilot assisted BMW in achieving a first world record on June 17, 1919 by flying an aeroplane with the highest altitude. The take off point of the BMW IV aero-engine powered aeroplane was Munich’s Oberwiesenfeld airfield.
The engine was specifically designed to fly high altitudes. In about one and a half hours, Diemer was flying a 9,760-meter altitude. He had to deal with temperatures below 50 degrees in the open cockpit, breathing in air with a diminishing oxygen level. That was the very first time an aircraft flew so high.
#2. Year 1929, BMW 3/15 hp – four wheels launch
Ten years after flying the aeroplane, the portfolio of the company had grown including motorcycles. The next achievement came shortly. Its Board of Management thought it was time for the company to delve into automobiles.
The move to automobiles is crucial to BMW's development
At the time, the management board was being chaired by Franz-Josef Popp. He stated that their success with motorcycles was the motivation to go into automobiles as they believed they had a market for it.
#3. Years 1950s, Compact BMW 700 turnaround
In the 1950s, BMW had citizens and residents of Germany driving the BMW 600 and BMW Isetta. These designs gave customers hopes of enjoying better ones. It became necessary for BWM to meet the needs of their customers by creating a conventional design as compensation for the drop in sales.
Wolfgang Denzel was one of the front-liners for the new designs. He gave the Board of Management the design of a two-door notchback which was originally designed by Giovanni Michelotti – an Italian designer.
#4. Year 1959, Classic mini debut
The classic design was created by designer Alec Issigonis. His very first draft was done on a napkin. This gave birth to a revolutionary small car. Spectators watched the first mini classic as it was driven on April 4, 1959.
Despite its short 3.05 meters length, the mini car had sufficient legroom for four passengers along with their luggage.
A new design was applied by Issigonis shortly after. It included a transverse four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive and a configured gearbox. In no time, all manufacturers adopted the design, making little tweaks to theirs to avoid outright duplication.
#5. Year 1959, BMW’s independence was defended by small shareholders
The 1950s brought some hard times for BWM. Sales problems in the automobile business led to serious financial issues for the company. When they converged for their annual meeting on December 9, 1959, one of the top topics on the agenda was the possibility of the company being taken over by Daimler-Benz AG.
Fortunately for BMW, its shareholders weren’t in support of this move. In the course of deliberations, BMW lawyer Friedrich Mathern identified some discrepancies in the official figures.
#6. Year 1969, Beginning of a new era of motocyle production
BWM had directed Berlin-Spandau to manufacture aero-engines in the 1930s after the motorcycle and car components of the World War II. The company moved the whole production of motorcycles to Berlin from its initial base Munich in 1969. This was done simultaneously with the production of the BMW/5 series.
Whatever one may say, BMW motorcycles are among the coolest
#7. Year 1979, Line up of the BMW M1 in the pro car series
Irresistible was the key word to describe the BWM M1 while it was standing still. It further proved to be more than a beautiful artwork on the track, beating all the pro car series lined up by the then Managing Director Jochen Neerpasch.
#8. Year 1999, BMW X5 World premier
The all-wheel drive BMW X5 was an all-rounder that wasn’t only good driving off-road terrain but also performed greatly on the road. The car debuted in 1999 as the very first Sports Activity Vehicle in the world.
#9. Year 1999, BMW Z8 displayed aesthetic appeal
The roadster history of BMW experienced a milestone in 1999. Styled by Danish designer Henrik Fisker, the BMW Z8 was indeed a sensation at the International Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). Its elegant lines took after the BMW 507. It also boasted of innovating engineering and a 400 hp V8 engine among other features.
Upgrades in aesthetic value is a must to every modern automaker
2019 BWM group
Today, the BMW group proudly flaunts four brands namely: BMW, Rolls-Royce, MINI and BMW Motorrad. It’s a leading manufacturer of premium automobiles and motorcycles in the world, and boasts of a global sales network in over 140 countries.
The name BMW has now dominated almost all markets it's present