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Carmakers: BMW


(CNN) -- Bayerische Motoren Werke, with its famous blue-and-white propeller logo, started life building airplane engines.

When it could no longer make engines after World War II, BMW turned its attention to motorcycles.

Now the company is admired for its 3-Series cars, with more than 7 million units sold.

The company's attempt to branch out into the mass production market with the acquisition of Rover Cars ended in failure.

It sold "the English patient," as Rover came to be known in Germany, for 10 ($15) to a private equity group, and sold the Land Rover business to Ford.

BMW became the subject of constant merger speculation itself, but the reclusive German Quandt family, which owns more than 40 percent of the group, has refused to sell. But since the sale of Rover, BMW hasn't looked back.

It retained the Mini brand from Rover and launched the revamped 1960s icon with great success in Europe and America.

Web site:

Chief Executive Officer: Helmut Panke

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