Germany’s BMW celebrates 100th anniversary

MUNICH: German luxury carmaker BMW will throw a lavish 100th birthday party on Monday, looking back at its often troubled history and forward as it seeks to adapt to the age of “personal mobility”.

In its home city of Munich the iconic headquarters, a complex dubbed the “BMW four-cylinder”, towers as a source of pride while its vast plant, offices and museum are the southern city’s main private employer, with a total of 41,000 staff.

Since its World War I beginnings, the company has grown into a multinational giant with plants in 14 countries, more than 116,000 employees and 80 billion euros ($88 billion) in annual sales.

BMW today makes cars and motorcycles and its brands also include Rolls-Royce and Mini.

Leading its rival Daimler-Benz in units sold, and with giant VW damaged by the emissions scandal, BMW remains in pole position at the high end of the auto industry and is seen as a symbol of German engineering prowess.

“It’s a great product, it’s a joy to make it,” says Stefan Eichborn, wearing a blue overall and speaking in a Bavarian accent, as he supervises huge machines that press steel sheets into car body parts.