BMW History: Karl Rapp started as an aircraft engine manufacturer, which is why the BMW logo symbolizes a spinning white propeller. After World War I the Treaty of Versailles prohibited Germany from making aircraft so BMW made railcar brakes. The first BMW motorcycle was introduced in 1923 and by 1933 they were producing cars. During World War II BMW produced a variety of engines and weapons for the German army and the factory suffered major damage from allied bombs.
The first post-war BMW was produced in 1952 but they were too expensive and sales were slow. In 1959 BMW considered selling out to rival Daimler-Benz but new money from investors saved the day. Between 1994 and 2000 BMW bought the Rover Group who built the Rover, Mini and Land Rover brands and had the rights to the Austin, Morris, Riley, Triumph and Wolseley marques. In 2000 BMW sold their interest in the Rover Group but kept the rights to Mini, Rover, Triumph and other marque.