This company owns BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce
There are many car manufacturers and car sub-brands. So much so that it’s often not obvious which company produces specific models. For example, some people might be surprised to learn that Hyundai is making the buzzing new Genesis GV60. Or that the new Polestar 2 EV SUV is a Volvo creation. Some companies, like BMW, are named after their flagship car brand. Still, unless you’re a car enthusiast or industry insider, you’d never guess what other sub-brands are in their portfolio.
What car brands does the BMW company own?
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, also known as BMW Corporation, is well known for its BMW-branded sedans, SUVs, roadsters, electric vehicles and high-performance vehicles. But the German multinational manufacturer manufactures much more than these symbolic vehicles.
According car covers, the company began producing aircraft in the early 20th century, then moved into motorcycles, farm equipment and railroad parts at the end of the First World War. It only became an automobile manufacturer a year before the Great Depression, although it continued to make motorcycles and airplanes throughout World War II.
Due to his use of slave labor during this war, BMW factories were bombed and automobile and motorcycle production was banned until 1952. His ties to the Third Reich resulted in sales slow throughout the 1950s. However, throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the introduction of several now iconic models helped BMW regain a foothold in the luxury and high performance markets.
BMW is now so synonymous with premium vehicles that it’s hard to imagine the automaker making anything else. It would not be shocking if Rolls-Royce, another well-known luxury brand, is in the portfolio of BMW Corporation. But it may come as a surprise to some that Mini, a brand known for its quirky little cars, is also owned and manufactured by BMW.
How Mini and Rolls-Royce became BMW brands
In 1994, BMW tried to expand its market share and operations by acquiring the failing British conglomerate, The Rover Group plc. According The Complete BMW Book, at the time, 80% of the Rover Group, formerly a public company, belonged to the private company British Aerospace (BAe). BAe sold its stake to BMW in 1998, while the German automaker bought the remaining 20% of the company’s shares from Honda.
Unfortunately for BMW, despite spending millions of pounds to turn Rover Group around, it couldn’t stop it losing money. Within two years it was forced to sell its main brands, Rover and MG. But he kept Mini and continued to sell and redesign the little car.
According CBS News, in July 1998, BMW acquired the Rolls-Royce brand in a complicated exchange. That month, Volkswagen (VW) purchased Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. to Rolls-Royce plc (the holding company) without obtaining the rights to the brand name. Rolls-Royce then sold the brand name to BMW, allowing VW to use it until 2002, after which they began manufacturing automobiles under the brand name. VW retained the manufacturing assets and rights to the luxury brand Bentley.
Therefore, you will not find Rolls-Royce plc on consumer reports list of car manufacturers and sub-brands. However, Rolls-Royce plc is still a listed company. But despite the name, you would be hard pressed to buy a car from them. Today, they sell aircraft engines and components used in the defense, marine and energy industries.
What’s next for BMW?
Despite its complex history, great things await BMW. Along with other major automakers, the company is electrifying its fleet. According Cars.com, while BMW’s i3 subcompact was dropped for 2022, a new fastback sedan, the i4, is being introduced, and a new SUV, the iX, as well as the gas-powered X3 and X4, will be refreshed. Additionally, the 2022 2 Series Coupe has been redesigned, with new powertrain options and larger bodywork.
The reader notes that the 2023 Mini Cooper retains the original size and styling the brand is known for. It will also come with an EV option in addition to a conventional petrol version. However, Mini will discontinue the petrol version by 2027. A newly redesigned Mini Coopery Countryman is also planned for 2023 as an EV and combustion engine model. However, by 2025 the Countryman will be EV only.
And Rolls-Royce also looks set to jump into the electric vehicle market with its ultra-luxury brands like Spectre, Phantom, Cullinan and Ghost taking the plunge. Just automatic shares that the Cullinan will be the first to go all-electric by 2025. They also note that the Ghost could be redesigned by 2025, while the Ghost could see electrification by 2024. More brands old ones like Dawn and Wraith were discontinued at the end of 2021. But a new Wraith revamp is due in 2023, and Dawn could be relaunched in 2026.
Although it’s all speculation until the cars hit the market, BMW’s plans for its Rolls-Royce, Mini and BMW brands are pretty exciting.
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