Union Bay Improvement District are having a trustee election today and I was a scrutineer for candidate Ian Munro. Between the breaks I asked; who owned the BMW convertible parked outside? One of the poll clerks its not a BMW it’s a bimmer. Now that got my attention and I decided to get some answers.
Why is it called BMW?
Unless you thought that BMW was actually spelled “bee-em-double-you” all this time, you may have guessed that the name is an acronym. It stands for Bayerische Moteren Werke, which translates into Bavarian Motor Works. You can listen to how it’s pronounced here! The acronym BMW is also pronounced differently in German – “bae-em-vae.”
BMW’s full German name actually isn’t grammatically correct. Motorenwerke is a single word in German. However, considering that the acronym BM is generally understood to stand for “bowel movement” rather than signify luxury vehicles, that grammatical error was probably a smart move.
BMW cars are also commonly known as “bimmers.” Shortly after World War II, before automobile production resumed, BMW was primarily known as a motorcycle manufacturer and was very active in motorsports. Their main racing competitors were BSA bikes. BSA bikes became known as Beesers, so BMWs started being nicknamed Beemers. Once BMW started making cars again, they became known as Bimmers, to differentiate them from motorcycles. Super similar names, but if you mix those two up, BMW aficionados might judge you.
Now wasn’t that interesting….