BMW, which stands for the longish corporate name Bayerische Motoren Werke AG may be known to the world as a German company manufacturing high-performance automobiles and motorcycles. But actually, BMW started out in 1916 as a manufacturer of aircraft engines. Under the provisions of the Versailles Armistice Treaty after World War I. However, the company was forced to stop aircraft engine manufacturing and when the treaty restriction on the company was lifted, BMW shifted its operations to motorcycle production in 1923 and to automobiles in 1928. The aircraft engine manufacturing heritage of BMW still lives in the company’s circular blue and white logo, signifying the rotating propeller of an airplane against the backdrop of a blue sky.
Because of the popularity of the BMW acronym, the word “Beemer” has been coined in the United States and gained popular usage in the movies and media to refer to the BMW automobile.