Friday, September 17, 2010

If you like the BMW

A few posts earlier, I had shared a picture of my friend's BMW.

The snap here again. 

A reader commented on the same referring to the BMW as beamer. But few don't agree to this slang, or rather to the spelling. These are those staunch BMW enthusiasts who would call the BMW as bimmer and anything else is an offense.

I read about the so called obsession with calling with a specific name couple of years back and being a car enthusiast, it was interesting to know the story behind it. Read it if you are interested; else skip it :-)

So why is a BMW called a Bimmer and not a Beamer or a Beemer?

Firstly, its a US centric thing. Special pains have been taken to see that distinction is made between using Beemer or Beamer to refer to BMW motorcycles and using Bimmer to refer only BMW cars. The Canadians prefer Bimmer as well.

So to summarize;

Beamer/Beemer - slang for BMW motorcycles
Bimmer - accepted slang for BMW cars

So how did it all start?

Post World war 2, BMW started big in motorcycles. They were very active in motor sports then, one of their rival at the racing track was BSA who was also a big name in motor sports. BSA motorcycles were called Beesers and so BMW motorcycle fans started calling the BMW motorcycles as Beemers. It was eventually mis-spelt and came  to be called as Beamers as well. 

Eventually BMW went on to manufacture cars; which overshadowed their motorcycles. The car guys did not want to be associated with the motorcycles. BMW car enthusiasts now wanted a new term for BMW cars that was different than the terms for BMW motorcycles and hence coined Bimmer by replacing a vowel.

As told, its just a US centric thing. In UK, they still refer BMW as Beamer or Beemer. In its homeland Germany, the terms bimmer/beamer/beemer is not familiar. They call it Beh Emm Veh for BMW in German and its either the BMW sedan or the car or the motorcycle. 

There's an annual Bimmerfest held in Santa Barbara, CA when all BMW car enthursiats meet. Held since 1999, this is one of the largest brand specific gatherings in the US. It was held in May this year, at Rose bowl in Pasadena. Over 3000 people participate and 1000+ BMW cars are exhibited. - here

The confusion of names was kind of resolved in 2003 when Google search for Bimmer yielded 10 times more hits for BMW as compared to Beamer.

Phew!! So much for a slang!!


  1. A bimmer indeed! Thanks for sharing this tidbit on BMWs:)

  2. since there was so much for a slang, you wrote a post on it :P

    interesting know already that i m not so crazy about cars and bikes, but almost everyone close to me is!! they keep discussing it..I can hear u out about anything and everything, but i lack opinion about these things..sigh, I had an argument with a friend for the same reason :(

    very informative post :)

  3. I don't know what will be the perfect answer of it. But as I know most of the BMW models are super popular in the world car market.

  4. Nothing like Amby for our icon the Ambassador!!!!!

  5. Good information . Never knew there was so much related to Bimmer.

  6. Wow! That's interesting and insightful too! :)

  7. That was some info! :)
    Bimmer looks cool! I don't find it surprising that people get miffed when Bimmer is misspelled. We go mad when someone mispronounces or misspells our name, so fair enough, I should say!

  8. wow!
    i wish the cherry red colour would have looked awesome! this very nice too!

  9. Liked the write up and pictures but I am not a BMW fan....too expensive for me.

  10. Neha,

    :-) I and my friend had a discussion over it few years back and got reminded of it. So I shared it here.

    You dont have to have an opinion if you dont have an inclination towards it. So its fine; as long as the post didnt bore you!!

  11. providence used BMW x6,

    Welcome. Oh yeah!! There seems to be no perfect answer.
    And yes, BMWs are hot in the market as always

  12. anil,

    Amby is Amby. Nothing like it :-)

  13. chitra,

    Oh yes; BMW craze exists like anything and all these are due to that.

  14. well, i think, whatever you call them, a BMW is a BMW car. I did n't know there were so much history behind BMW. You should've made a lot f research to find it out. shouldn't u?

  15. Destiny's child,

    Thank you. Does it look cool? I shall convey that to my friend. He will appreciate it. Oh yeah!! These enthusiasts make it a point to convey what it must be called.

  16. AS,

    This color is called the BMW BLUE.
    No better color for a BMW than this.

  17. A,

    Thanks. Dont like the BMW as its expensive? Hmm..story of sour grapes? :-)

  18. Tomz,

    Yes!! Oh yeah I was surprised knowing this as well.
    I do read a lot; if you call that research, well yes :-)

  19. thats an inetresting post... didn't even know abt beemer or bimmer so that ws new to me :)

  20. Rajlakshmi,

    Thank you. Now you know!! :-)

  21. Rajlakshmi,

    Thank you. Now you know!! :-)

  22. thank u teacher* For enlightening me..:)

  23. Thanks for sharing.
    I dont think i will be able to own one in the near future, i might as well do with the nice picture.

  24. Chowla sir,

    Thank you. :-) All the best for you to own one. :-)

  25. That was an education of sorts ! beamer and bimmer !!


  26. Kavi,

    :P Now look for a chance to flaunt it :-)

  27. first time on your blog..but read almost more than 10 posts starting from 2006 :).very interesting and original writing..subscribed your link to google reader..all the best!!

  28. Ashwini,

    Welcome To B Lob. :-)

    Thank you very much; it feels good to know that you read many of my posts.

    Oh 2006? I started writing since 2008 only :-) Thanks again

  29. Lots of information on the BMW.
    I really had no idea about this.
    I knew only about the word Beamer only.
    Updating my gray cells.............done.

    Are the people in US so sticky for their things?

    Thank you for the information and the pic was awesome.
    Want to buy a BMW soon...:)



  30. Nipun,

    Yeah, now you know, you can flaunt your gyan.

    Its not about being sticky. Its about following a set convention. After all its a BMW :-)

    All the very best, hope you buy one soon


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