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What Does BMW Mean?

2022 BMW X5

If you own a BMW, or have even just seen a car with the iconic blue-and-white logo on the streets of Scottsdale, AZ, you may have wondered, “What does BMW mean?” In short, the letters stand for Bayerische Motoren Werke, or Bavarian Motor Works in English. The BMW logo, name, and slogan have a fascinating history, and Lapin Motor Co. has all the details right here!

How Did BMW Get Its Name?

While the BMW name dates back to 1917, the company itself is a few years older. Here are some fun facts about the auto manufacturer:

  • The company that became BMW was founded as the Rapp Motorenwerke Company in 1913 by Karl Rapp. It originally manufactured aircraft engines in Munich, Germany.
  • Karl Rapp left the company in 1917, and the name changed to Bayerische Motoren Werke, making the BMW name 105 years old this year!
  • Bayerische means “Bavarian” in German, referring to the company’s headquarters. Bavaria is a federal state in southeastern Germany, near the Austria and Czech Republic borders.
  • The BMW logo – a blue-and-white checkered circle – was developed in 1917 along with the company name, and is reminiscent of the blue-and-white Bavarian flag.
  • BMW’s full name is BMW AG, or Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft, which refers to an incorporation owned by shareholders.

A Closer Look at the BMW Logo

The BMW logo is one of the most famous in automotive history, simple and clean but instantly recognizable. While some people think that the logo is a reference to an airplane propeller as a nod to the company’s start as an aircraft manufacturer, this isn’t the case. The BMW logo has always resembled the color and design of the Bavarian flag, and has only been updated a few times throughout its history. These updates are small–minor font and color changes–with the centerpiece always being the blue-and-white checkered circle.

The most recent update to the BMW logo was made in 2020, changing the circle enclosing the blue-and-white emblem from black to transparent. This is actually one of the most significant changes to the logo–the enclosing circle has always been black since the logo’s inception in 1917. The font spelling out BMW has also been streamlined to be a bit more modern.

What is the BMW Slogan?

BMW’s slogan–”The Ultimate Driving Machine”–is just as iconic as the name and logo. It dates back to 1974, and has continuously been the company slogan except for a period from 2010 to 2012 when it was briefly changed to simply “Joy.”

Experience the BMW Difference at Lapin Motor Co.

Now that you know what BMW stands for, are you ready to learn more about all things BMW? Contact our office or stop by the dealership to check out our inventory of high-quality pre-owned BMW vehicles. If you find a model to your liking, we can get you behind the wheel and take you out for a test drive around Vancouver, WA and anytime!

You can also reach out with any questions, or for more information about our lineup of luxury pre-owned cars. If you want to bring a BMW home for yourself, our finance center is a great resource to get you started.


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