BMW is probably one of the best-known luxury car names out there in the world today. Some identify with the brand because it's a status symbol while others find themselves in the driver's seat for the pure thrill of the ride.

Sales for the German car giant are rising. In fact, the company reported sales of more than 2.5 million vehicles worldwide in 2019—that's a 1.2% increase from the year before. The company, which has a market capitalization of more than $48 billion as of the beginning of December 2020, topped the list of the American luxury car market at the end of 2019, capturing 14.23% of the market.

Getting to this point involves a lot of different entities, including the company's suppliers. Keep reading to find out more about BMW and about some of the companies that make up its supplier network.

Key Takeaways

  • BMW is one of the world's largest high-end automakers, with a global presence and a household name.
  • To become efficient on the global stage, BMW relies on a complex network of suppliers for its cars.
  • While some suppliers have become integrated into the company itself, many still operate as third-party vendors under contract

A Brief History of BMW

Most of us know the company as BMW but the company's full name is Bayerische Motoren Werke. Founded in 1916, the corporation is headquartered in Munich. The company manufactures cars and motorcycles in 31 production facilities in 15 different countries.

BMW is also the parent company of the luxury Rolls-Royce brand as well as the MINI brand of small cars. The company's stock is traded publicly on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the symbol BMW.

As mentioned above, the company sold more than 2.5 million cars to consumers around the world in 2019. This includes models from all three of the company's business segments—BMW, Rolls-Royce, and MINI, as well as 175,000 motorcycles. BMW is among the big three German manufacturers of luxury automobiles with Mercedez-Benz and Audi and is one of the biggest-selling luxury car makers worldwide.


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Expanding Market Segments

BMW followed other automakers by expanding into emerging markets, such as China and India. The company established manufacturing plants in both of those countries in the early 2000s. For instance, the Chennai, India, plant was opened in 2007.

In 2014, BMW moved to access other important emerging market economies by establishing production plants in Brazil and Mexico . By pushing into emerging markets, BMW is focused on establishing its own production and marketing its own brand rather than entering into strategic joint venture partnerships with existing automakers native to the country.

If you want to invest in BMW, you can purchase an American depositary receipt.

Supplier Networks

To manufacture its automobiles, BMW depends upon a network of over 100 auto parts suppliers from all over the globe, though approximately 50% of its suppliers are either located in Germany or are subsidiaries of German-based companies.

Roughly another 35% of BMW's suppliers are headquartered in other European countries, with about a 50-50 split between Western European countries and Eastern European nations.

BMW emphasizes consciousness toward environmental issues, developing sustainability guidelines for its suppliers. Examples include the guideline for use of recycled aluminum in parts and BMW's EfficientDynamics concept, developed to enhance fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. In fact, the company has featured in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) every year since 1999, taking the top spot in 2020, beating out 38 other car companies in the automobiles section.

The following is a list of BMW's major automotive parts suppliers, along with the component parts that they supply:

  • Brembo: This company provides rake calipers
  • Dräxlmaier Group: Supplier of nterior panels
  • Peiker Acustic GmbH: Provider of high-speed mobile internet for cars. In 2012, BMW became the first automaker to introduce this feature.
  • Thyssenkrupp: Supplies steering columns, shock absorbers, and suspension parts
  • BorgWarner: Provider of drivetrain components, such as clutches and automatic transmissions
  • Elringklinger: Maker of gaskets and exhaust system components
  • Mahle: Supplies piston and cylinder components, valve train systems, and air and liquid management systems
  • Bridgestone: Supplier of tires
  • Guardian: Manufactures windshields and auto glass
  • GKN Driveline: Provides axle assemblies
  • Johnson Electric: Supplies cooling and heating fan modules
  • Gestamp: Providers of front and rear hood assemblies
  • Apag Elektronik AG: Interior lighting components
  • Delphi: Battery and electric vehicle charger components
  • Hirschvogel: Wheels
  • Magna: Body casting stampings
  • Harman/Kardon: Interior music and audio systems