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BMW logo not propeller: ‘self-propagating urban myth’ 

A graphic shared on Instagram claims car manufacturer BMW’s logo represents a white aeroplane propeller against a blue sky.

Above an image of the famous logo, it says: “The BMW logo derives from the company’s origin as an airplane manufacturer. The now iconic blue and white ‘target sign’ represents a spinning white propeller against a blue sky.”

Does the BMW logo represent a propeller? We checked.



Myth helped along by BMW


“Many people believe the BMW logo is a stylised propeller. But the truth is a little different,” Fred Jakobs, archive director of BMW Group Classic, says on BMW’s website. 

In 1917 aircraft engine manufacturer, Rapp Motorenwerke, was renamed  BMW, or Bayerische Motoren Werke, German for Bavarian Motor Works. 

The newly renamed company used the old Rapp logo, and added the blue and white of the Bavarian state’s flag. 

“The first key to the meaning of the BMW logo are its colours: white and blue are the colours of the state of Bavaria in Germany, home of BMW,” says Jakobs.

The rumour that the BMW logo is meant to resemble a rotating propeller came about after “a BMW ad from 1929 showed an aeroplane with the BMW logo in the rotating propeller”.

“For a long time, BMW made little effort to correct the myth that the BMW badge is a propeller,” says Jakobs. “Constant repetition has made this explanation a self-propagating urban myth.” – Taryn Willows

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

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Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

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