If you’re a car enthusiast or someone who loves to keep up with the latest news and updates from the automotive industry, you might be curious about which companies own your favorite car brands. When it comes to luxury cars, BMW is undoubtedly one of the top contenders in the global market. From their sleek designs to exceptional performance, BMW has gained a loyal following worldwide.
But have you ever wondered who owns BMW? Some may assume that the German automaker is an independently owned company. However, the answer might surprise you.
“It’s not just another brand on a spreadsheet; behind every high-end product lies a story. The heart and soul of every vehicle.
In this article, we’ll delve into the history of BMW ownership, how its ownership structure has changed over the years, and reveal the surprising answer to the question-who is BMW owned by?
The journey towards discovering who holds the reins of power at BMW will take us through various episodes in the rich automotive heritage of Germany. So buckle up and join us for this exciting revelation into BMW’s ownership.
BMW: A Brief History
The Founding of BMW
In 1916, three German companies – Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, Rapp Motorenwerke, and Automobilwerk Eisenach – merged to form the company we know today as BMW. Originally a manufacturer of aircraft engines, BMW quickly expanded its production to include motorcycles and cars.
The first BMW motorcycle, the R32, was released in 1923 and featured an innovative new design with a horizontally opposed twin engine and shaft drive. The success of this motorcycle helped establish BMW’s reputation for quality engineering and superior performance.
The Early Years of BMW
Throughout the 1930s, BMW continued to innovate and produce high-quality vehicles. One notable example is the BMW 328, which won numerous races and became one of the most successful sports cars of its time.
The outbreak of World War II had a significant impact on BMW’s operations. The company was forced to shift its focus from civilian vehicles to military equipment. During this time, BMW produced aircraft engines, motorcycles, and even bicycles for the German army.
The Impact of World War II on BMW
After the war ended, BMW found itself facing a difficult economic climate. Much of its manufacturing infrastructure had been destroyed during the conflict, and it lost access to many of its former markets due to political tensions.
In order to survive, BMW had to undergo significant restructuring and diversify its production. It began producing engines for agricultural machinery and small electric motors, as well as expanding into areas like consumer electronics.
BMW’s Expansion and Growth
By the 1960s, BMW had once again established itself as a major player in the automotive industry. It continued to innovate and release successful models like the BMW 02 Series, which helped establish its reputation as a luxury car brand.
Today, BMW is owned by the BMW Group, which also owns brands like Mini and Rolls-Royce. The company continues to produce high-quality vehicles and invest in sustainable technology for the future.
“Future mobility will connect every area of people’s lives. There will be different solutions for different regions.” -Peter Schwarzenbauer, Board Member of BMW AG
The BMW Group: A Global Powerhouse
The BMW Group is an international corporation that designs, manufactures, and markets luxury cars, motorcycles, and engines. It was founded in 1916 as a manufacturer of aircraft engines but shifted its focus to the automotive industry after World War I. Today, it has operations in over 150 countries with production sites located across the globe.
The BMW Group’s Brands and Products
The BMW Group comprises three world-famous brands – BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Each brand offers distinct products that cater to different segments of the market. BMW is known for producing luxury vehicles such as sedans, SUVs, sports cars, and electric/hybrid cars. MINI specializes in small cars that are fun to drive and have a youthful appeal. Lastly, Rolls-Royce produces ultra-luxury vehicles such as limousines and high-end automobiles designed for elite buyers.
In addition to the company’s car divisions, the BMW Group also designs and produces motorcycle models under the name BMW Motorrad. The range includes sportbikes, touring bikes, adventure bikes, and electric scooters.
The BMW Group’s Global Presence
The BMW Group’s global presence is strong, with manufacturing plants located in Germany, UK, US, South Africa, China, Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, India, and Mexico. Furthermore, research and development centers are situated in Munich (Germany), Oxford (UK), Farnborough (UK), Spartanburg (USA), Silicon Valley (USA), Beijing (China), and Tokyo (Japan). In total, there are over 100 locations where the BMW Group has established a foothold globally.
“The BMW Group remains firmly committed to Germany as a technology location and will continue to invest in its production sites in the future.” – Harald Krueger, former Chairman of BMW AG Management Board
The BMW Group’s Financial Performance
Being a global powerhouse comes with enormous financial responsibilities. In 2018, the BMW Group reported revenues of €97.5 billion and profits before tax of €9.82 billion. The company’s strong performance was attributed to a push for digital innovation, lean manufacturing, cost optimization, and investments into electric and autonomous technologies.
According to Forbes, the BMW brand ranks at number #11 among the world’s most valuable brands, with an estimated worth of US$41.5 billion.
“The growth is being driven by substantial investment in developing new models cleverly aimed at different yet overlapping sections of buyers…It helps too that demand from China – which accounts for a third of all sales – picked up after stalling in the previous year.” – Andrew Cave, Contributor on Business & Opinion, Forbes
The BMW Group is owned by itself as it is a publicly traded corporation. As of August 2021, the company’s largest shareholders were Susanne Klatten (almost 21%), Stefan Quandt (16%), and the rest held by institutional investors. Being one of the world’s most recognizable luxury automotive companies, the BMW Group has secured a unique positioning through its relentless pursuit of quality engineering, innovative design, cutting-edge technology, and global expansion strategies.
A Look Into BMW’s Ownership Structure
BMW is a public company, which means that it has shareholders. As of 2021, the largest shareholder of BMW is the Susanne Klatten and Stefan Quandt family with around 47% of the shares. The remaining shares are held by institutional investors (30%), private shareholders (20%) and others (3%).
Susanne Klatten and Stefan Quandt inherited their stakes in BMW from their father Herbert Quandt who saved the company from bankruptcy in the 1960s and transformed it into one of the world’s top luxury car makers.
Other notable shareholders of BMW include BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. (7.02%), Vanguard Group Inc. (4.84%) and Norges Bank Investment Management (2.56%).
The Role of the Quandt Family in BMW
The Quandt family has played a crucial role in the success of BMW. They have been the largest shareholders since 1959 and have always had a seat on the board of directors. Currently, Stefan Quandt serves as Chairman of the Supervisory Board while his sister, Susanne Klatten, sits on the board as a member.
The Quandts are known for their long-term approach to investing in BMW and providing stability to the company. Their influence over key decisions has helped maintain the company’s focus on high-quality engineering, innovation, and customer satisfaction.
“What makes them special is they’re not just content to be passive owners. They’re engaged, supportive, and committed.” – Peter Rawlinson, former Vice President of Engineering at BMW
The Corporate Governance System of BMW
BMW has a two-tier system of governance. The Executive Board manages the day-to-day business operations of the company, while the Supervisory Board oversees their work and provides guidance.
The Executive Board is made up of seven members who are responsible for different areas such as sales and marketing, research and development, finance, etc. Meanwhile, the Supervisory Board comprises twelve members, six of whom are employee representatives elected by BMW employees in Germany.
According to BMW’s official website, “the Supervisory Board appoints, supervises and advises the Executive Board in its management of the company.” This ensures that there is accountability and transparency in decision-making processes.
“There’s no question that BMW has one of the best corporate governance systems in Germany. They’re an example for how shareholders can have real influence without resorting to activism.” – Götzl von Berlichingen, Member of German parliament
The Quandt family has been the backbone of BMW’s success since the 1960s. Their long-term approach to investing and focus on stability has ensured that BMW remains one of the world’s leading luxury car makers. Additionally, with a well-structured governance system, BMW demonstrates accountability and transparency, adding extra assurance that shareholders’ interests are always taken into account during critical decision-making activities.
The Key Players Behind BMW’s Success
The Founders of BMW
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) was founded on March 7, 1916 by Franz Josef Popp and two other partners. The company traces its roots to a firm known as Rapp Motorenwerke which produced aircraft engines during World War I. However, after the war ended, the Treaty of Versailles banned Germany from manufacturing aircraft or producing high-powered engines.
As a result, the founders had to transition their focus to building motorcycles and then cars. In 1928, BMW released its first car production, the BMW 3/15, marking the beginning of a legacy that would evolve over decades and make BMW one of the world’s most popular luxury automakers today.
The Visionary Leaders of BMW
One of the key drivers behind BMW’s success is the level of innovation in their engineering and design teams. Over the years, several leaders have emerged who have helped shape this spirit of innovation.
For example, Chris Bangle served as Design Director for BMW during the late-1990s until 2009. He transformed the look of BMW vehicles with signature designs like the flame surfacing method. Another impressive innovator is Adrian van Hooydonk, the current head of design for BMW Group. Under his leadership, BMW has maintained its reputation for sleek designs while also prioritizing sustainability with projects such as the BMW i sub-brand.
Another visionary leader who helped chart BMW’s future course is Harald Krueger. Krueger joined the company in 1992 and rose up the ranks to become Chairman of the Board of Management in May 2015. He emphasized electric vehicle development and took BMW deeper into autonomous vehicle technology.
Moreover, BMW’s general ethos of innovation and excellence has been a driving force behind its success. According to The Motley Fool, “BMW focuses on providing above-average sales figures for low-volume vehicles and above-average profit margins compared with other car companies,” thanks to vigorous research and development practices.
“We need to be the pioneers. We need to drive ahead and define what is premium transportation in the future.” – Harald Krueger
It is evident that the incredible legacy of BMW is due to the collective efforts of several individuals at different stages of the company’s history. From Franz Josef Popp, who founded the company, to Chris Bangle and Adrian van Hooydonk, who transformed design aesthetics, and then to leaders like Harald Krueger, who charted an exciting course towards sustainability, everyone played a significant part in making BMW one of the world’s most beloved luxury auto brands today.
BMW’s Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations
BMW, the German luxury car manufacturer, has been partnering with various companies and institutions around the world to advance its position in the automotive industry. Let’s take a look at some of BMW’s significant collaborations.
Collaboration with Toyota
In 2011, BMW entered into a collaboration agreement with Toyota Motor Corporation to develop fuel cell systems, powertrain electrification, lightweight technologies, and joint research on lithium-air batteries. This partnership aimed to leverage each other’s expertise and resources to find practical solutions for future mobility challenges.
The two automakers have already jointly developed the fifth-generation hybrid systems that have been integrated into both the BMW i8 and the Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle. Moreover, they are working together to improve the design and safety of next-generation solid-state batteries to replace conventional lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars.
“The BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation share the same strategic vision of future sustainable mobility. We aim to further strengthen our competitive position in sustainable future technologies.”
Partnership with Intel and Mobileye
In 2016, BMW announced that it would team up with technology giants Intel and Mobileye to create an open platform for autonomous driving by 2021. The joint venture aims to develop fully self-driving vehicles through cutting-edge technology in artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision, and machine learning.
This partnership was formed as BMW increasingly focused on developing autonomous driving technology to make driving safer and more comfortable. Manfred Schoch, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG remarked:
“Our partnership with Intel and Mobileye will help us to quickly and seamlessly integrate the relevant features into a highly advanced new cockpit solution as well as offer extremely scalable levels of automation.”
Joint Venture with Brilliance Auto in China
BMW has been operating in the Chinese automobile market for more than three decades and announced a joint venture with its local partner, Brilliance Group. The partnership aims to build up BMW’s presence in the world’s largest automotive market substantially.
The collaboration between these giants comprises two-thirds of the shares controlled by the German-based group and one-third owns the Chinese firm. Together they will invest heavily in research and development (R&D), upgrade manufacturing facilities, and launch new models that meet consumer expectations.
Jochen Goller, president of BMW Group Region China shared his thoughts on the cooperation:
“Our investments are driving BMW’s transformation into a tech company – innovation from digitization is transforming every aspect of our business model, ecosystem worldwide,.”
Collaboration with the University of Oxford
In 2019, BMW announced a significant collaboration agreement with the University of Oxford aimed at promoting future mobility solutions through cross-disciplinary academic studies.
This innovative project brings together world-class researchers and engineers to work on new materials, energy storage devices such as batteries and super-capacitors, autonomous driving technology, and sustainable transport systems.
“The BMW Group and the University of Oxford share the same values and ambitions to scale and drive forward electrified, connected, automated and shared mobility. I am convinced this collaboration will provide valuable knowledge and technologies helping us shape the mobility of tomorrow.”
BMW’s strategic partnerships and collaborations signify their unyielding commitment to sustainable future mobility. By leveraging expertise and pooling resources, BMW can capitalize on changing industry trends, take advantage of new opportunities, and deliver exceptional value to its customers.
What’s Next for BMW in the Automotive Industry?
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, commonly known as BMW, is a German multinational corporation that produces luxury vehicles and motorcycles. Founded in 1916, BMW has been at the forefront of innovation in the automotive industry for over a century.
The Future of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles at BMW
In recent years, electric and autonomous vehicles have become a major focus for BMW. The company has already launched all-electric models such as the i3 and i8, and plans to continue expanding its range of electrified vehicles. By 2025, BMW aims to have 25 fully electric or plug-in hybrid models on the market.
As for autonomous technology, BMW has partnered with companies like Intel, Mobileye, and Delphi to develop self-driving systems. The goal is to have fully automated driving available by 2021.
“We are determined to be the leading supplier for autonomous driving,” said Harald Krueger, CEO of BMW.
The Impact of Industry Trends on BMW’s Strategy
Like any successful company, BMW must keep an eye on the latest trends and technological advancements in the automotive industry. One such trend is the rise of mobility services, which offer alternatives to traditional car ownership such as ride-sharing and car-sharing programs.
To stay ahead of the game, BMW has introduced its own mobility services through its brand ReachNow. This includes car-sharing, ride-hailing, and even delivery services. “We are putting our customers’ needs front and center,” explains Krueger.
BMW’s Plans for Expansion and Growth
In addition to developing new technologies, BMW is also focused on growing its global presence. The company currently operates in over 150 countries and aims to continue expanding its reach.
This includes plans to build a new factory in Hungary, which will produce electric vehicles for both the local market and export. BMW also recently opened a technology office in Tel Aviv, Israel, with the goal of collaborating with innovative startups.
“We are taking the next step in our strategy to be at the forefront of innovation and technology,” said Klaus Froehlich, Board Member for Development at BMW.
BMW’s future is looking bright as it continues to innovate and expand in the ever-changing automotive industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Company Owns BMW?
BMW is owned by the BMW Group, a German multinational corporation that also owns Mini and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. The BMW Group is headquartered in Munich, Germany and operates in over 150 countries worldwide.
Who Is the CEO of BMW?
The current CEO of BMW is Oliver Zipse. He has been with the company since 1991 and has held various positions before becoming CEO in August 2019. Zipse is responsible for leading the company’s strategic direction and ensuring its continued success in the automotive industry.
What Is the History of BMW Ownership?
BMW was originally founded in 1916 as a manufacturer of aircraft engines. After World War I, the company shifted its focus to motorcycles and eventually to automobiles. BMW has had several different owners throughout its history, including Herbert Quandt and the Quandt family, who have owned a controlling stake in the company since the 1950s.
What Other Brands Does BMW Own?
In addition to BMW, the BMW Group also owns Mini and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Mini is a British automotive brand that produces small, stylish cars, while Rolls-Royce is a luxury car brand that produces high-end vehicles for the ultra-wealthy.
How Does BMW’s Ownership Affect Its Products?
As a publicly traded company, BMW’s ownership structure can have an impact on the company’s products. However, the Quandt family’s long-term ownership of the company has allowed BMW to maintain a consistent focus on quality and innovation. BMW’s ownership structure also allows the company to invest heavily in research and development, which leads to the creation of cutting-edge technologies and high-quality products.
What Are the Future Plans for BMW’s Ownership?
As of now, there are no plans for major changes to BMW’s ownership structure. The Quandt family is committed to maintaining its controlling stake in the company, and BMW’s management team is focused on continuing to innovate and produce high-quality automobiles. However, as with any publicly traded company, the future of BMW’s ownership is always subject to change based on market conditions and other factors.