Checkered Flag BMW - A New & Used BMW Dealer in Virginia Beach
We appreciate you taking the time today to visit our website. Our goal is to give you an interactive tour of our new BMW vehicles and used BMW inventory. At Checkered Flag BMW, serving the Newport News area, you can conveniently get a quote, schedule a BMW car repair, or apply for a car loan or lease in Virginia Beach. Even if you need a BMW part near Newport News, we're here to help you!
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Pre-World War II
BMW was founded by Karl Friedrich Rapp in October 1913 originally as an aircraft engine manufacturer, Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke. The Milbertshofen district of Munich location was chosen because it was close to the Gustav Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik site, a German aircraft manufacturer. The blue-and-white roundel BMW still uses (illustrated above right) alludes to the blue and white checkered flag of Bavaria and also indicates the origin of BMW by symbolizing a spinning white propeller on a blue-sky background.
In 1916 the company secured a contract to build V12 engines for Austria-Hungary. Needing extra financing, Rapp gained the support of Camillo Castiglioni and Max Friz, the company was reconstituted as the Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH. Over-expansion caused difficulties; Rapp left and the company was taken over by the Austrian industrialist Franz Josef Popp in 1917, and named BMW AG in 1918.
After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles (1919) prohibited the production of aircraft in Germany. Otto closed his factory and BMW switched to manufacturing railway brakes.
In 1919 BMW designed their first motorcycle engine, used in a model called the Victoria which was built by a company in Nuremberg.
In 1923 BMW built their first model motorcycle, the R32. This had a 500 cc air-cooled horizontally-opposed engine, a feature that would resonate among their various models for decades to come, albeit with displacement increases and newer technology. The major innovation was the use of a driveshaft instead of a chain to drive the rear wheel. For decades to follow, the driveshaft was the mark of the BMW motorcycle.
In 1927 the tiny Dixi, an Austin Seven produced under licence, began production in Eisenach. BMW bought the Dixi Company the following year, and this became the company's first car, the BMW 3/15. By 1933 BMW were producing cars that could be called truly theirs, offering steadily more advanced I6 sports and saloons (sedans). The pre-war cars culminated in the 327 coupe and convertible, the 328 roadster, fast 2.0 L cars, both very advanced for their time, as well as the upscale 335 luxury sedan.
World War II
BMW motorcycles, specifically the BMW R 12 and the BMW R 75 combination were used extensively by the Aufklärungsabteilung of German panzer and motorised divisions of the German Army, Waffen SS and Luftwaffe.
BMW was also a major supplier of engines to the Luftwaffe and of engines and vehicles, especially motorcycles, to the Wehrmacht. Planes using the aero-engines included the BMW 801, one of the most powerful available. Over 30,000 were manufactured up to 1945. BMW also researched jet engines, producing the BMW 003, and rocket-based weapons. BMW has admitted to using between 25,000 and 30,000 slave labourers during this period, consisting of both prisoners of war and inmates of infamous concentration camps such as Dachau.
The BMW works were heavily bombed towards the end of the war. Of its sites, those in eastern Germany (Eisenach-Dürrerhof, Wandlitz-Basdorf and Zühlsdorf) were seized by the Soviets. The factory in Munich was largely destroyed.
Post War History
In 1952, BMW produced its first passenger car since the war, but its attempts to get into the premium sector were not commercially successful; models such as the acclaimed BMW 507 were too expensive to build profitably and were low volume. By the late 1950s, it was making bubble-cars such as the Isetta. In 1959 BMW's management suggested selling the whole concern to Daimler-Benz. Major shareholder, Herbert Quandt was close to agreeing such a deal, but changed his mind at the last minute because of opposition from the workforce and trade unions and advice from the board chairman, Kurt Golda. Instead Quandt increased his share in BMW to 50% against the advice of his bankers, and he was instrumental in turning the company around.
That same year, BMW launched the 700, a small car with an air-cooled, rear-mounted 697 cc boxer engine from the R67 motorcycle. Its bodywork was designed by Giovanni Michelotti and the 2+2 model had a sporty look. There was also a more powerful RS model for racing. Competition successes in the 700 began to secure BMW's reputation for sports sedans.
At the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1961, BMW launched the 1500, a powerful compact sedan, with front disc brakes and four-wheel independent suspension. This modern specification further cemented BMW's reputation for sporting cars. It was the first BMW to officially feature the "Hofmeister kink", the rear window line that has been the hallmark of all BMWs since then.
The "New Class" 1500 was developed into 1600 and 1800 models. In 1966, the two-door version of the 1600 was launched, along with a convertible in 1967. These models were called the '02' series-the 2002 being the most famous-and began the bloodline that later developed into the BMW 3 Series.
In 1968, BMW launched its large "New Six" sedans, the 2500, 2800, and American Bavaria, and coupés, the 2.5 CS and 2800 CS.
By the 1970s, BMW was commercially successful and in December 1971, moved in to its present HQ in Munich, architecturally modelled after four cylinders.
In 1972, the 5 Series was launched to replace the New Class sedans, with a body styled by Paul Bracq. The new class coupes were replaced by the 3 Series in 1975, and the New Six became the 7 Series in 1977. Thus the three-tier sports sedan range was formed, and BMW essentially followed this formula into the 1990s. Other cars, like the 6 Series coupes that replaced the CS and the M1, were also added to the mix as the market demanded.
Bimmer in Britain
Between 1994 and 2000, under the leadership of Bernd Pischetsrieder, BMW owned the Rover Group in an attempt to get into mass market production, buying it from British Aerospace. This brought the active Rover, Mini and Land Rover brands as well as rights to many dormant marques such as Austin, Morris, Riley, Triumph and Wolseley under BMW ownership.
The venture was not successful. For years, Rover tried to rival BMW, if not in product, then in market positioning and "snob appeal". BMW found it difficult to reposition the English automaker alongside its own products and the Rover division was faced with endless changes in its marketing strategy. In the six years under BMW, Rover was positioned as a premium automaker, a mass-market automaker, a division of BMW and an independent unit.
BMW was more successful with the Mini and Land Rover brands, which did not have parallels in its own range at the time.
In 2000, BMW disposed of Rover after years of losses, with Rover cars going to the Phoenix Venture Holdings for a nominal £10 and Land Rover going to the Ford Motor Company. In the press, many years of under-investment by Rover before BMW's ownership were mainly blamed for the debacle althougth more recently BMW's management and marketing of the marque have been identified by many as the real problems; productivity and industrial relations were generally good during this period. The German press ridiculed the English firm as "The English Patient", after a film at the time. BMW itself, protected by its product range's image, was largely spared the blame - even though it was the serious marketing issues that brought Rover down. Even the British press was not particularly sympathetic towards Rover. Land Rover has since enjoyed much greater success as part of the Premier Automobile Group.
BMW retained the rights to Mini, Rover, Triumph and other marques. MINI has been a highly successful business, though the other names have not been used yet.
In the early part of the 2000s, BMW undertook another of its periodic cycles of redoing the styling design of its various series of vehicles, under the auspices of newly promoted design chief Christopher Bangle. These designs, which were much curvier and 'swoopier' -- a design cue called "flame surfacing" by Bangle, did not rest well at all with BMW enthusiasts or the automotive press which referred to the new designs as "Bangled" or "Bangle-ized". While Bangle did not pen all of these designs, and has indeed been promoted within the company, some question what long term effect the disaffection of BMW traditionalists for these designs will have on sales, and on the company's future.
However, despite the controversy, BMW sales have increased year after year, showing the buying public's embrace of the new design philosophy, which is to raise the contribution of design to equate with that of engineering in the production of a vehicle. Bangle seems to posture that he wants people to either "love" or "hate" a design, but not be indifferent to it. As such, his designs elicit much more emotional response than previous generations. It should also be noted that BMW's designs, both pre-Bangle and surprisingly since Bangle, are now resonating in the industry at the design level - the "Bangle-butt" rear end of the 7-series that most found difficult to digest when it first came out in early 2000s is now appearing in other brands, most notably on the new Lexus LS and the new Mercedes-Benz S-class for 2007. The iconic "kink" is also a staple of Infiniti as is the "M" moniker, made famous by the higher performance M-series of BMW.
What is not well known, however, is that Bangle was indeed responsible for many 'conservative' BMW designs and has worked at BMW for almost a decade. The first X5 sketches (which highly resembled the production car), were designed by him, and under his tenure the E46 3-series came to be.
Production outside of Germany
BMW started producing automobiles at its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant in 1994. Today, the plant manufactures the BMW X5, the BMW Z4 Roadster and Coupe, and the BMW Z4 M Roadster and Coupe.
The Spartanburg, SC plant is open six days a week, producing automobiles approximately 110 hours a week. It employs about 4,700 people and manufactures over 500 vehicles daily. Recently, the plant has undergone a major renovation switching from 2 production lines down to one. Now both the X5 and the Z4 are produced in the same line, one right after the other.
After a period of local assembly, BMW's Rosslyn, South Africa, plant now manufactures cars, with over 70% of its output destined for export. In the mid-1990s, BMW invested R1 billion to make Rosslyn a world-class facility. The plant now exports over 50,000 3 Series cars a year, mostly to the USA, Japan, Australia, Africa and the Middle East.
Starting from October 2004, BMWs are produced in Shenyang, China . BMW has established a joint venture with Chinese manufacturer Brilliance to build BMW 3 Series and 5 Series vehicles for the local market.
The BMW Group is considering the establishment of a new plant which will be located either in Volos,Greece or Limasol,Cyprus.These plants will be manufacturing motorcycles as well as the BMW 1 Series and the BMW 3 Series and will be serving the markets of Eastern Europe and Middle East.The construction will start in 2009 even if it is finally built in Greece or in Cyprus.
BMW is also building a production plant in Chennai, India for production of 3-series and 5-series vehicles. The plant will begin production in 2007.
BMW has been engaged in motorsport activities since the dawn of the first BMW motorcycle. BMW has competed and won many of the most coveted and prestigious races and motoring events.
* BMW Sauber F1 Team - current BMW works Formula One team
* WilliamsF1 - former Formula One partner, and designer of BMW's Le Mans winning sports car
* Brabham Racing Organisation - Former Formula One partner, winning the Drivers Championship in 1983
* McLaren F1 - Successful mid-1990s GT racing car with a BMW designed engine. It won FIA GT in 1995 and 1996 and the 24 Hours Le Mans in 1995.
* Touring car racing - BMW have a long and very successful history in this category. Since 1968 BMW won 24 drivers championships in European Touring Car Championship along with several manufacturer and team titles.
* The World Touring Car Chamionship was won twice.
* DTM succeses:
1. 1988: Roberto Ravaglia, BMW M3
2. 1987: Winfried Vogt, BMW M3
3. 1983: Dieter Quester, BMW 635 CSI
4. 1982: Umberto Grano, Helmut Kelleners, BMW 528i
5. 1981: Umberto Grano, Helmut Kelleners, BMW 635 CSI
6. 1980: Siegfried Müller Jr., Helmut Kelleners, BMW 320i
7. 1979: Carlo Facetti, Martino Finotto, BMW 3.0 CSL
8. 1978: Umberto Grano, BMW 3.0 CSL
9. 1977: Dieter Quester, BMW 3.0 CSL
10. 1976: Pierre Dieudonné, Jean Xhenceval, BMW 3.0 CSL
11. 1975: Siegfried Müller, Alain Peltier, BMW 3.0 CSL
* Also BMW won the British Touring Car Championship in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993.
* Le Mans 24 Hours - BMW won Le Mans in 1999 with a car designed by Williams Grand Prix Engineering. Also the McLaren BMW team won the 1995 24 Hours Le Mans in a modified McLaren F1 car.
* Mille Miglia - BMW won Mille Miglia in 1940 in with a 328 Touring Coupe. Previously in 1938 the 328 sport car also obtained a class victory.
* Nürburgring - BMW won the 24 Hours Nürburgring 18 times.
* RAC Rally - The 328 sport car won this event in 1939.
* Paris Dakar Rally - BMW motorcycles have won this event 6 times.
Culture and Community for Beemers and Bimmers
The term "beemer" started as an acronym for the abbreviation "BMW," adapted from the early-20th century British pronunciation of BSA (as "beeser" or "beezer"), whose motorcycles were often racing BMWs. Over time, the term became closely associated with BMW motorcycles.
The term "bimmer" was later coined to refer (exclusively) to BMW automobiles. As such, use of the word "beemer" to refer to a BMW automobile is frowned upon by some BMW enthusiasts, because it is the term used for motorcycles. Although the distinction is completely arbitrary, to this day, the media, movies, and most people still use the term "beemer" to refer to the automobiles. Interestingly, in the German language, the correct pronunciation of the term "bimmer" is "beemer."
The initials BMW are pronounced "beh emm veh" in German.
BMW is also the abbreviation in the UK for a cocktail of Baileys, Malibu and Whisky.
BMW has always had a very tight and loyal community following. They're one of the few automakers that support driving their cars to their limits, suggesting "spirited driving" in certain operation manuals. In the summer of 2001, BMW even went as far as starting the BMW Films website, showcasing some sporty models being driven to extremes. These videos are very popular within the enthusiast community and have opened the eyes of many owners looking for a sporty/fun car. However, even with all this success, on October 21st, 2005, the BMW Films were taken offline.
The BMW enthusiast community however, remains extremely active. Online forums like bimmerfest.com, E46fanatics.com, Baybimmers.com, M3forums.net, E90Fanatics.com, and bimmerforums.com are examples of how loyal BMW enthusiasts are. They are some of the most active car forums on the web.
Every year since 1999, BMW enthusiasts have met up in Santa Barbara, CA to attend "Bimmerfest." Perhaps one of the largest brand-specific gatherings in the U.S. Over 3000 people attended this past year (2006), and there were over 1000 cars present.
*The brand history on this page is a collaboration of points found from various sources on the Internet. Checkered Flag does not claim it to be accurate. If you find anything to not be factual, we want to know so we can change it. Please use our "Contact Us" form to inform us of a possible error.