Bayerische Motoren-Werke AG, or popularly known as BMW, is a German multinational organization that engages in the manufacture of cars and motorcycles. The company started as an aircraft engine maker that has evolved over the past century to become one of the leading brands for luxury vehicles in the world today. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, BMW is the largest of the three brands under the BMW Group, with the other two being Rolls-Royce and MINI. At the end of 2018, the BMW Group, had a total of 134,682 employees, which is 3.7 percent higher than the 2017 headcount. More than half of them cater to the group's automotive business.
The origins of the name BMW can be traced back to aircraft engine manufacturer Rapp Motorenwerke, which was founded by Karl Rapp in Oberwiesenfeld, Germany in 1913. Having established itself in the airplane industry, the company was renamed as Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH or BMW in 1916. The change in the name prompted the need to design a new company logo, which resulted in the now famous black, white, and blue BMW trademark. The BMW IIIa aircraft engine was the company's first product, and it was received well by the German military.
At the end of the World War I in 1918, the terms of the Versailles Armistice Treaty compelled BMW to stop production of aircraft engines. The company then shifted to manufacturing household items, farm equipment, and railway brakes. In 1922, AN Italian-Austrian banker and financier Camillo Castiglioni purchased the rights to the BMW brand. He then renamed another aircraft company which he owned – the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke – as BMW. Bayerische Flugzeugwerke's old factory was then reopened to manufacture farm equipment, buses, and trucks and branded them as BMW.
BMW started manufacturing motorcycles in 1923, with the restrictions of the Armistice Treaty being lifted. Five years later, the firm purchased car producer Automobilewerk Eisenach, which marked BMW's foray into the car manufacturing industry. BMW adopted Automobilewerk Eisenach's then current model the Dixi 3/15 and branded it as its own first production car – the BMW 3/15.
The company resumed producing aircraft engines in the 1930s to support Germany's rearmament. During the Second World War, BMW's factories were either heavily bombed or banned from producing automobiles and motorcycles alike, while those in East Germany were taken by the Soviet Union. To keep the business going, BMW used secondhand and salvaged equipment to make pots, pans, and other kitchen supplies, as well as bicycles.
BMW managed to secure permission to produce motorcycles again in 1947 but resumed manufacturing automobiles only in 1952. The company expanded their model lineup of sedans, coupes, sports cars, and convertibles in the ensuing years.
In 1994, BMW purchased British Rover Group, which owned Rover, Land Rover, MINI, and MG as well as rights to inactive brands Austin and Morris. After six years, the Rover was on the red, so BMW decided to give up some of the brands. The company sold the Rover and MG brands to Phoenix Consortium, which resulted in MG Rover, and the Land Rover was purchased by Ford. The German luxury vehicle maker opted to keep the rights MINI, which it rebuilt and launched in 2001. In 1998, BMW purchased the rights to the Rolls-Royce name and logo. Prior to this, BMW was already supplying engines and other components for Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars and had a joint business venture with Rolls-Royce plc.
Today, BMW still carries the MINI and Rolls-Royce brands under the umbrella BMW Group.
In the Philippines, SMC Asia Car Distributors Corporation (SMCACDC) is the official importer, distributor, and service provider of BMW. SMCACDC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, which is one of the country's largest conglomerates with diverse interests, including beverages, food, fuel and oil, infrastructure, and power.
SMCACDC came into being after San Miguel Corporation acquired in 2017 a controlling stake in Asian Carmakers Corporation (ACC). The latter had been distributing BMW in the country since 2009 after BMW Philippines, the brand's previous distributor, decided to cease operations.
Today, it maintains eight full service dealer facilities nationwide for its luxury vehicle segment and five for its motorcycle business.
For the Philippine market, BMW makes available the following nameplates: BMW 1 Series 5-door, BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer, BMW 3 Series Sedan, BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, BMW 5 Series Sedan, BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo, BMW 7 Series Sedan, BMW X1, BMW X2, BMW X3, BMW X4, BMW X5, BMW X6, BMW X7, BMW M2 Coupe, BMW M3 Sedan, BMW M4 Coupe, and BMW M5 with M xDrive.
Based on global sales, some of the most popular models of BMW include the BMW 5 Series, the BMW 3 Series, the BMW X1, and the BMW X3.
The BMW 5 Series Sedan is a straightforward executive saloon or a mid-sized luxury automobile that has been in production since 1972. A combination of sportiness and elegance makes it an eye-catching premium car, and those who get to drive it are usually wowed by its efficient handling and performance. In the Philippines, the BMW is available in three variants: 520d Sedan, 520i Sedan, and 530i Sedan. The base 520d Sedan is a rear-wheel drive that runs on a four cylinder DOHC engine equipped with CommonRail direct injection (CRDi) technology; it is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It has a top speed of 226 kilometers per hour (km/h) and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.3 seconds. The 520i Sedan can speed up to 235 km/h and can go from zero to 100 km/h in 7.8 seconds. The fastest among the variants is the 530i Sedan, which can sprint from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 6.1 seconds.
The BMW 3 Series first rolled out of the factory in 1975 and is now in its sixth generation. It is a compact executive automobile that spells class and royalty. For the Philippine market, this nameplate comes in Sedan and Grand Turismo body styles. The Sedan option available is model 330i, and it runs on a four-cylinder gasoline engine that is attached to an eight-speed transmission. This model boasts of a 250 km/h peak speed and can run from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.8 seconds.
The BMW 3 Series Grand Turismo, on the other hand, carries a classic sporty coupe look. Under the hood, one will find a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine that employs turbocharger and CRDi technologies as well. This car can shift from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 5.1 seconds; it has recorded a top speed of 230 km/h.
As for the BMW X1, this luxury and ultra-stylish compact crossover was first introduced in 2009. It runs on the a 1995cc four-cylinder petrol engine. Two variants are available in the Philippines. One is the BMW X1 sDrive18d which has a top speed of 205 km/h and can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 9.2 seconds. The other is the BMW X1 xDrvie20d, which can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds and bears a top speed of 219 km/h.
The X3, meanwhile, is an SUV which has been in production since 2003 and is currently on its third generation. It is offered in a single engine option – a two-liter four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo powertrain that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine comes with various modes, namely EcoPro, Normal, Comfort, and Sport; additionally, there is also a configurable Adaptive mode which can change the engine's characteristics according to the drive's preference. Despite the size, this vehicle is made for speed. One of the models available in the Philippines – the BMW X3 M40i – boasts of a maximum speed coming up at 250 km/h and can push from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds. Other models that local buyers may check out are the BMW X3 xDrive20d and the BMW X3 xDrive30d.
In 2018, BMW's automotive segment delivered a new record high for the eighth consecutive year. Deliveries stood at 2,125,026 units during the year; this represents a 1.8 percent growth from the previous year. The good performance was driven by good market conditions in Asia.
From a model perspective, the BMW 5 Series, the BMW 3 Series, and BMW X1 were the bestsellers for the year, contributing 18.0 percent, 17.2 percent, and 13.5 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the BMW X3, the electrified BMW i, and BMW 5 Series contributed much of the sequential growth. In terms of production volume, 2,168,496 vehicles were recorded, which translates to a 2.1 percent increase from the 2017 outing.
The BMW Group has been committed to growing production of its electrified automobiles. It 2018, it successfully achieved its goal of delivering more than 140,000 electrified cars. During the year, the group sold 142,617 units, of which 129,398 were BMWi and BMW Plug-in hybrid models. As for its motorcycle segment, deliveries sustained a positive growth momentum for the eighth consecutive year and reached a new record high of 165,566 units. In terms of production, however, volume dropped by 12.4 percent, closing 2018 with 162,687 units.
The BMW Group has a global production network that consists of 31 locations where BMW vehicles as well as Rolls-Royce and MINI are manufactured. Of the said figure, 20 are BMW Group plants. Eight of them are situated in Germany, specifically in Berlin, Dingolfing, Eisenach, Landshut, Leipzig, Munich, Regensburg, and Wackersdorf. Four are in the United Kingdom – Hams Hall, Oxford, Swindon, and Rolls-Royce Manufacturing Plant Goodwood. There also two in Brazil, namely in Araquari and Manaus. The rest of the locations are Chennai, India; Rayong Thailand; Rosslyn, South Africa; San Luis Potosi, Mexico; Spartanburg, USA; and Steyr, Austria.
There are also three China plants in Shenyang operated by BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA), which is a joint venture. Additionally, the company has four partner plants that are aimed at serving regional markets. These are in Jakarta, Indonesia; Cairo, Egypt; Kaliningrad, Russia; and Kulim, Malaysia. Lastly, BMW engages external partners for the production of certain vehicle types. In 2018, the group awarded production contracts to Magna Steyr FAhrzeugtechnik in Austria, VDL Nedcar in Netherlands, TVS Motor Company in India, and Locin Motor Co., Ltd. in China.