This German-based company is one of the world's most respected automakers, renowned for crafting luxury cars and SUVs that offer superior levels of driving enjoyment. Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) was founded in 1916 to build aircraft. After the company expanded to motorcycles in the early 1920s, the first BMW automobile was produced in 1928. By the 1970s, the German car builder had grown into a full-fledged car company and a pioneer in emerging technologies. BMW of North America was established in 1975 and currently includes marketing, sales and financial organizations for the BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands. Over the past couple of decades, BMWs have become the standard for performance and luxury in many vehicle segments.