The Evolution of BMW
As part of our BMW product range showcase, we thought we’d take a deeper look into the BMW brand history, and the cars that have helped shape the future of BMW into what we see today.
From The Air to The Road
The BMW story began in March 1916, when aircraft engine manufacturer, Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG was formed. Eight years later, the company was renamed Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) GmbH, which roughly translates to Bavarian Engine Works Company, paying homage to the place the company originated from – the German State of Bavaria.
The First BMW Car…
To get from the air to the road, BMW acquired Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach in 1928 and the rights to build the Dixi. This was arguably the most pivotal acquisition in the automotive giant’s history as it led to the first ever car being sold under the BMW banner – the 3/15 – a rebadged Dixi!
After visiting the Geneva Motor Show in 1954 and setting eyes on the Iso Isetta bubble car, BMW entered talks with Iso Rivolta and eventually purchased the licence to manufacture the Isetta, along with all the tooling required to manufacture its body. BMW began the production of their version of the Isetta in 1955 and sold a staggering 10,000 cars in the first year alone! This might not sound like a lot but it certainly was in the ’50s! A total of 161,728 were sold when they ended production of the car in 1962.
Then came the “Neue Klasse” project which started in 1960. This was a development program for a new range of models. The result of this project was the BMW New Class 4-door Sedans, introduced in 1962 and credited for saving the company financially, whilst establishing BMW’s identity as a producer of Sports Sedans. These cars featured front disc brakes, along with 4-wheel independent suspension, which helped establish the building blocks for the sporty reputation BMW now has. This range of cars was also the first to feature the ‘Hofmeister Kink’ – the rear window line that has been a styling feature of most BMW’s since.
The First Time The Semi-Trailing Arm System Was Used on a BMW
BMW extended the chassis of the Isetta and created the BMW 600, a larger 4 seater family car. The rear suspension used on the car was the first time BMW used the semi-trailing arm system which ended up being used on their Sedans and Coupes until the 1990s. Sadly, the BMW 600 was only in production for 2 years, with less than 35,000 built in total.
Following the unprecedented success of the BMW 1500 compact Sedan in 1961, their Munich based production facility soon reached its capacity limit. This effectively forced BMW into purchasing Hans Glas GmbH, along with both of its premises in Dingolfing and Landshut. After the purchase, the sites were restructured and for many years, Dingolfing was the world’s largest BMW production plant.
In 1972, the first generation of the BMW 5 Series was introduced, replacing the New Class Sedans which were originally introduced in 1962. Shortly after, in 1975, the first generation 3 Series was introduced, replacing the 02 Series.
The first road car produced by the BMW motorsport division, BMW M, was the BMW M1 in 1978. This was the first mid-engined sports car and was developed in conjunction with Lamborghini.
British Rover Group Purchase
BMW bought the British Rover Group in 1994, which consisted of the Rover, Land Rover, Mini and MG brands. This was not a successful purchase for BMW and after 6 years, they decided to sell off MG and Rover to Phoenix Consortium to form MG Rover, and Land Rover was taken over by Ford. BMW decided to retain the rights to Mini and Rolls-Royce Phantom.
From Sports Saloons to SUV’s
The X5 was the first SUV to be produced by BMW back in 1999, followed by the smaller X3, introduced in 2003. Five years after the X3 was introduced to the market, the X6 SUV was released, attracting controversy for combining the Coupe and SUV styling cues.
What Does The Future Hold for BMW?
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular in a bid to help protect the environment, so BMW plans to drive further innovations in electrified cars. Alongside this, the new generation of BMW vehicles will see an introduction of 48-volt hybrids, also known as mild hybrid electric vehicles. These will have an electric starter motor generator, designed to help the petrol engine. The battery on these vehicles will be charged by regenerative braking which will give drivers a better overall fuel consumption with no range loss.
Uncover more future plans for BMW here.
Achieve Greater Performance for Your BMW With MSS
Customer loyalty is very prominent when it comes to the BMW brand, which is why we feel it is important to continue growing our aftermarket suspension range for BMW’s.
Suiting a variety of different BMW body styles, series ranges and model years, we are able to stay with you as your ride evolves and changes over years to come.
Ensure limitless driving fun and excellent ride handling all year round by installing MSS Sport to your BMW today.
If you are a BMW driver and you want to control every movement of your car, regardless of model, you can browse the MSS BMW range today here.
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