BMW - History (13)
The right to use the name BMW was granted, through a court decicion, to the factories in the west, thus, the products made in Eisenach were then called 'EMW'. As early as 1948 the motorcycle production in Munich had already, once again resumed. Not only did Herbert Quandt use his money, but also initiated the developement of a mid-range-series.
In 1961 the BMW 1500 appeared as an indirect competition to Mercedes, as a compact-car, whose chassis was, compared with the 700, once again vastly improved and technically simplified.
As far as the engine technology is concerned, their modern OHC engines, with hemispherical combustion chambers, they were a step ahead of the competition. The sales however, only really started moving when Paul G. Hahnemann was appointed. His strategy was, to create a niche and to exploit it. In addition, in 1966 the, very successful 02-range appeared. In the same year, BMW took over the Glas-Company in Dingolfing (picture on top).
From this point onwards, the development of BMW is presented as an almost pure success story. The upper class range was perfected in 1972 by the 5-series. New factories were emerging at home and abroad including the USA. The success on the race tracks of the world underlined the sports-car image of the BMW. The 02-series was developed in almost every direction, from the real sports-car with turbo-charging to the slightly more practical 'Touring'. In 1975 the 02 was replaced by the 3-series, from 1983 onwards it could even be had with 4 doors.
After 1976, the coupés were given the model description '6' when a new model was presented. Over and above this, in 1977, the series-7 was developed, it would later be powered by the first twelve-cylinder engine produced in Germany since the war. The follow-up series-8-coupé flopped out. The exact opposite was the 1980 M-series, derived from the mid-engined sports-cars which was also their namesake, the cars, whose exterior had been only slightly altered, were fitted with particularly high-performance engines. The engines were later increased to V-8s and right up to V10s for use in 'normal' saloon cars. The success of this series was, of course, largely due to the success of the racing cars in the formula 1 (83), the formula 2 (80) and also the rallye victories.
In 1983, BMW started producing cars with Diesel engines and in 1985 also with four-wheel drive. In the motorcycle sector, the K-series marked the partial moving away from the classic boxer-twin. It is here that, nowadays, (2005) one can observe an astonishing development which goes further than the existing series. Still to be mentioned, is the victory over the competitor VW, who felt certain that they had won the battle of acquiring the rights to take over Rolls-Royce, until it turned out that BMW did indeed, have the better position. Thus, BMW now also develops the arguably best car in the world.
After the successful involvement with Rover, which however, incurred heavy losses, BMW has worked its way up to being the most profitable supplier in the luxury class, in fact, in the end, trumping even Mercedes. One reason may be, that under the coachwork, the similarity of the BMW cars to each other is higher than that of the competition. No automobile manufacture seemed to be immune to the crisis of 2007. No-one saw the writing on the wall, no-one recognised that the development was in the direction of low CO2 emission. It may be interesting, to see how the three German luxury class competitors will come out of this affair with a clean nose. 01/11