The BMW Group is comprised of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. The group sells cars, motorcycles, engines, and sport utility vehicles throughout the world. BMW is an acronym that stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, which is the parent company of the BMW Group. There are plenty of great used BMW cars such as the BMW 3-Series, BMW 1-Series and the BMW X6 SUV just to name a few.
The aircraft-engine shop that would become BMW was founded by Karl Rapp in 1913 as the Rapp Motoren Werke. In 1916/1917 Rapp resigned from the company, and the new CEO Franz-Josef Popp changed the name to Bayerische Motoren Werke. In 1922, BMW and another aircraft company named Bayerische Flugzeug Werke would merge to form today's BMW.
The company found early success with aircraft engines and moved on to producing brake systems for railway cars, motorcycles, and finally automobiles in 1928. The move away from aircraft components was mandated by the Treaty of Versailles, which prohibited the production of aircraft in Germany. The move into automobiles was spurred by the acquisition of a small automobile company located in Eisenach, Germany. In the 1930's, BMW began producing the larger touring cars. BMW would shift production away from consumer products to support the German war machine. After World War II, Allied forces shut down the BMW factories and to stay afloat BMW made household goods. In 1948, just three years after the end of the war, BMW returned to the motorcycle market. It wasn't until the 1950's when BMW would return to automobile production, but the company wouldn't find success until the 1960's when it introduced luxury cars and sport sedans intended as competition for Mercedes-Benz.
BMW briefly owned the Land Rover and Rover companies before selling Land Rover to Ford, retaining the MINI brand formerly belonging to Rover and selling Rover's remaining assets to Nanjing Automobile Group (China), and finally selling the Rover name to Ford in 2006. The Munich, Germany, based company employs over 100,000 worldwide as of 2007