History & Marketing Strategies of BMW Brand

Brand Name- BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke AG)
Founders- Karl Rapp, Franz Josef Popp, Camillo Castiglioni and Gustav Otto

Being a multinational company from Germany, BMW presently is a producer of motorcycles and automobiles. It originally had started off as a manufacturer of aircraft engines but production had ceased from the year 1946 onward. Founded in the year 1916, the headquarters of the company is located in Munich, Bavaria.

BMW produces cars in the US, the UK, South Africa, India, China and Brazil and of course, Germany. The Quandt family remains long-term shareholders of the company while the rest of the shares are under the ownership of public float. 2015 saw BMW attain spectacular heights by becoming the 12th largest motor vehicle producer with a whopping 2,279,503 vehicles produced.

While motorbikes are marketed under BMW Motorrad brand, automobiles are done under Rolls-Royce, Mini, BMW i (plug-in electric automobiles) and BMW M (performance-based automobile models).

How It All Started and Gradual Growth of the Company-

Three German companies, namely Rapp Motorenwerke, Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, and Automobilwerk Eisenach, together can be considered as the founding stones and base of the BMW that we know today.

The first company specialized in the manufacture of aircraft engines. The first aircraft engine manufactured by BMW was named the BMW IIIa. It was renamed to Bayerische Motoren Werke following the departure of its founder Karl Friedrich Rapp. Bayerische Flugzeugwerke was founded after Camillo Castiglioni bought rights to BMW name and renamed an aircraft company that he invested in, BMW.

The company that had descended from Rapp Motoenwerke became Süddeutsche Bremse AG (Knorr-Bremse being the current name).

As per the impositions made by the Versailles Armistice Treaty after the end of the Great War (now known as the First World War), the company was forced to stop all productions of aircraft engines.

Following lifting of some of the restrictions and limitations of the Treaty, motorcycle production began in BMW factories and plants in 1923. The first model to have ever been produced was the R32 model. 5 years later, automobile production began. 

As the Second World War approached and Germany rose to power again, BMW started manufacturing aircraft engines again. But several facilities were bombed and those located in the East German region were captured by the Soviet Union. The remaining facilities lost all power to produce any kind of motorcycle or automobile.

During this time, the company began producing pans, pots, bicycles and kitchen supplies. As 1947 came, motorcycle production was resumed and the R24 model was released. BMW 501 became the first automobile to undergo production post-war, in 1952.

Ever since then, several divisions and series like the M division; 8 Series; hatchbacks; New Six; 3, 5 and 7 Series and Z3 models have been produced by BMW. 1994 saw British Rover Group being acquired by BMW, which consisted of MG, Mini, Land Rover and Rover brands at the time. A shift occurred from 2006 to 2013 when BMW shifted to smaller turbocharged engines. 2013 onward, BMW has produced electric and hybrid automobiles that have gained popularity among modern humans.

The company name can be translated into Bavarian Motor Works in English. The logo is a unique one and it symbolizes the Bavarian flag. Slangs like Bee-em, Bimmer and Beamer are often used to refer to the brand BMW in the English Language.


Marketing Strategies

The marketing mix of BMW, like any other company, has 4 Ps associated with it- product, price, place and promotion. The success of the company depends largely on brand image and maintenance of core values- customer satisfaction, exclusivity, reliability, quality, performance, innovation and technology.

BMW offers a premium range of automobiles and motorcycles for consumers to choose from. Having a wide variety of products is always an advantage for a company as it gives customers options and the freedom and liberty to select the option best fitted for them. BMW offers the BMW i sub-brand that was created back in 2011 for designing and manufacturing plug-in electric vehicles. The BMW M was created for facilitating the racing program of the company but with the advent of time, modified higher trim models have been produced that have been loved by the general public. 

While the Mini and John Cooper Works are specific to specific users and are subsidiaries of BMW, Rolls Royce offers luxury vehicles to consumers. Also part of the BMW group is the BMW Motorrad, the motorcycle producing brand of BMW. Hosts of services have been offered by BMW, such as the Drive Now, Reach Now, Park Now and Charge Now facilities. While the first and the second are car-sharing services focused in 9 European countries and North American cities respectively, the third is a parking service helping users locate parking spots close to their destinations. The fourth and the final service make it easier for users to locate public charging stations.

BMW pricing is done according to the taste of the affluent and upper middle class consumers, the target consumer base of the company. Their prices are ‘premium’ in comparison to those of their contemporaries and rivals. The company has begun putting into use dynamic pricing strategies in nations like Brazil and India that show potential for growth.

BMW showrooms are located in posh locations in urban cities as their main consumers hail mainly from the upper strata of the society.

BMW emphasizes premium segments to cater to needs to various socio-economic societal layers. Their global marketing strategy reflects leadership via innovation that underscores specifically the premium target market. Their new communication theme combines superior automobile performance with emotionally sensual marketing communication globally. Overall, worldwide marketing strategy of BMW bridges emotional and premium marketing, compensating the firm with top-level economic performance and strong leadership position in car-making industry.


Campaigns Launched by the Company

Promotions and campaigns launched by BMW include their involvement in arts beyond motor vehicle designing.

They use proper combinations of digital channels, BTL and DTL for promoting their products and creating awareness among the people about the same. They actively and often sponsor sports events like rally racing events among others. Ads and communications also go a long way in keeping the brand name on the radar.

Popular and well-known faces like Alessandro Zanardi and Sachin Tendulkar serve as brand ambassadors for the luxury vehicle brand. For printing ads, BMW uses high-end magazines like Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune and Forbes.



Being a company that brings to its customers luxurious and high-end vehicles, BMW has through the years made its mark on the minds of the common mass, as well as the market. It has urged customers to imagine how it would be like to own a luxury segment automobile via the use of media and promotions and campaigns.

In short, it is safe to say that the brand name is here to stay for a very long time in the future and we certainly hope that it does.

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