5 Interesting Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About BMW
You might think you know the German automaker BMW, but how well do you really know the brand? Originally founded in 1916, the car company is known around the world for producing luxury vehicles with sophisticated engineering that produces excellent performance. Based in Munich, the automaker has more than 122,000 employees around the world. But there’s more to the BMW story. Check out these five facts you didn’t know about BMW.
1. BMW’s First Car Was the Dixi
What began as an aircraft engine-making company transitioned into making cars when BMW purchased Automobilwerk Eisenach in 1928. The transaction gave BMW the rights to the company’s first car, known as the Dixi. Initially, the car was called the BMW Dixi, but the Dixi moniker was dropped a year later when the company put out a new version of the car. Drivers could buy the Dixi as a tourer, sedan, roadster, or coupe.
2. BMW’s Logo Colors Represent Bavaria
The BMW logo consists of a black ring containing the company name. The ring holds a circle with two blue and two white quadrants. The design seems to suggest a propeller. The propeller theory makes sense given that BMW began as a company that made engines for airplanes. But the logo is actually based on the blue and white flag of Bavaria, the federal state in Germany where BMW has its headquarters.
3. BMW Created its First Electric Car Decades Ago
Though electric cars now seem modern and forward-thinking, the idea of an electric car is quite old. The first electric car was invented in 1828. Of course, electric cars went through a decline and didn’t see a true revival until the 1990’s. But BMW built its first electric vehicle in 1972.
Unfortunately, BMW’s 1602e never made it to the market. For one thing, the car’s 12 12-volt batteries held a charge for only about 20 minutes, far short of what’s necessary for a viable electric car. The 1602e’s performance was about half as good as the standard car’s BMW was producing at the time. Even though the 1602e never made it to market, it laid the groundwork for future innovations such as the 2017 BMW i3 electric car.
4. BMW Manufactured a Bike That Was the World’s Fastest Motorcycle
In 1937, BMW built a motorcycle with a supercharged engine. Designed to be exceptionally aerodynamic, the motorcycle reached speeds up to 173.7 miles per hour. BMW’s motorcycle division, known as BMW Motorrad continues to make top-of-the-line bikes. In fact, the company set new records for sales in 2016.
5. BMW Owns the Mini and Rolls Royce Brands
For consumers, it isn’t always clear which car companies own which brands. For example, you may not know that BMW owns both Mini and Rolls Royce, two of the U.K.’s most beloved brands. Classic and formal, the Rolls Royce brand is a longtime symbol of the ultimate luxury vehicle that’s available exclusively to those who can afford it. Mini Coopers, on the other hand, are accessible to more buyers.
With its history of innovation, it’s easy to see why BMW has been so successful over the years.