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Bavarian Motor Works is an independent German automobile manufacturer. BMW is one of the world's leading performance-luxury manufacturers of cars and motorcycles, and is the parent company of the MINI and Rolls-Royce car brands.
Beginning with aircraft engines, BMW AG produced a variety of products in its early years, eventually shifting to motorcycle production in 1923 and automobiles in 1929. The circular blue and white BMW logo, which has not been altered throughout the company's history, does not in fact symbolize a spinning propeller according to a BMW spokesman Joerg Huebner (although the imagery did appear in post-WWI advertisements). The BMW roundel badge is believed to have been partially derived from the logo of its predecessor company Rapp Motorenwerke, while ultimately taking on the colors and checkers from the arms of Bavaria (fusilly in bend argent and azure). Significant aircraft power plants of pre-WWII and WWII included the BMW 132 and BMW 801 air-cooled radial engines, and the pioneering BMW 003 axial-flow turbojet. BMW's factories were damaged badly in the war, and many surviving machine tools were confiscated by the victorious Allies.
BMW AG bought the British Rover Group (which at the time consisted of the Rover, Land Rover and MG marques as well as the rights to defunct marquees including Austin and Morris) in 1994 and owned it for six years. By 2000, Rover was making huge losses and BMW decided to sell the combine.