It was exactly 90 years ago, on 21 July 1917. When it all started with the production of aircraft engines, followed by the design and production of motorcycles and finally the company entered the auto business and have not looked back since.
Even the WW2 did not stop BMW despite the allies many attempts, which did in fact destroy the plant in Munich during 1944, but a stroke of luck and good business, meant that by 1945 they were in fact repairing US army vehicles, and they started up the motorcycle business.
During the fifties the allies lifted most of the restrictions and production could once again begin. But it was really until the mid seventies that BMW became a household name and with the development of the three series really pushed the BMW name into every corner of the globe.
BMW has always been squashed between Mercedes Benz and VW being neither one nor the other, but the more recent models have been more of a match for both of the brands.
The future of BMW has never been better, they have a strong range of cars, highly technical specs coupled with the style and design, and are now running a successful Formula One racing team, which give the company technical advances and some great PR, that has made BMW one of the most desirable cars on the road today.
Source [Top Speed]