BMW's Getting a 'New Logo' for Its Flagship Models

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Interested in distinguishing its premium models from the rest of the flotsam and jetsam, BMW is launching a “new” black-and-white logo it will use to market its “flaggschiff” units around the globe. The updated look was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show and will be used for the 7 series and i8 coupe, as well as the forthcoming 8 series coupe, convertible, i8 roadster and X7 SUV.

Rumored to be similar to the cheesy carbon variant of the company’s emblem found in numerous aftermarket Ebay listings, the new logo is essentially the old one, only desaturated into monochrome with the company’s full name — Bayerische Motoren Werke — written out in its entirety. However, there seems to be some confusion as to how the new logo will be used and what its heritage actually entails.

“We have a strong history of 100 years, and we think that’s something we should use,” Hildegard Wortmann, senior vice president of brand BMW, told Automotive News. “It’s a new visual identity [that’s] more involving, more emotional.”

Several outlets have cited the black-and-white emblem as a throwback to an earlier era where BMW used its full name on its physical products. But there is precious little evidence on which to hang that claim. In fact, the company’s earliest motorized vehicles used rounded emblems with a gold monogram and the iconic blue and white logo. The same is true for its aircraft engines.

However, before it was BMW, the company existed as the short-lived Rapp Motorenwerke between 1913 and 1917. Rapp did use its full name on products and also had a completely black horse-head marquis. But it seems unlikely the modern-day brand would draw inspiration from its pre-World War I roots as a way to celebrate 100 years of existence.

Automotive News added some additional clarity against earlier reports from rival outlets, indicating the new luxury branding will be used only in the automaker’s communications activities. Dealerships won’t be required to update any signage or elements of their buildings, a spokesman said. That means you probably won’t be seeing any new badges on cars but plenty, though marketing materials will be emblazoned with BMW’s complete name in grayscale — despite claims to the contrary.

Still, it could certainly happen in the future. BMW is clearly trying to draw a line between the top of its model range and everything below, and this marketing swap is the first step on that mission. While the numeric designations help, Bayerische Motoren Werke may opt to further tweak the branding of its upper echelon. We may see those monochrome emblems affixed to a hood in subsequent years, which wouldn’t be the worst thing imaginable. But they’ll remain the same Bavarian blue and white for now.

[Image: BMW]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Jalop1991 Jalop1991 on Sep 25, 2017

    "BMW is launching a “new” black-and-white logo it will use to market its “flaggschiff” units around the globe."

  • PentastarPride PentastarPride on Sep 26, 2017

    Most people assume BMW stands for Bavarian Motor Works, which is partially correct as Bayerische = Bavarian, but not officially correct. Some people, like my wife who had an E46 in high school, don't even know what it stands for at all. "I don't know, it's just a nice, cute little German car!". Some of my co-workers who have BMWs seem to be enthusiasts, so I will have to quiz them on what BMW stands for.

    • SPPPP SPPPP on Sep 27, 2017

      Your comment seems excessively pedantic. Tell me what BMW stands for if not Bavarian Motor Works? In English, please. :)

  • ToolGuy Personally I have no idea what anyone in this video is talking about, perhaps someone can explain it to me.
  • ToolGuy Friendly reminder of two indisputable facts: A) Winners buy new vehicles (only losers buy used), and B) New vehicle buyers are geniuses (their vehicle choices prove it):
  • Groza George Stellantis live off the back of cheap V8 cars with old technology and suffers from lack of new product development. Now that regulations killed this market, they have to ditch the outdated overhead.They are not ready to face the tsunami of cheap Chinese EVs or ready to even go hybrid and will be left in the dust. I expect most of their US offerings to be made in Mexico in the future for good tariff protection and lower costs of labor instead of overpriced and inflexible union labor.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is delaying an oil change for my Highlander by a couple of weeks, as it prevented me from getting an appointment before a business trip out of town. Oh well, much worse things have happened.I also just got a dealership oil change for my BMW (thanks, loss-leader prepaid plans!) and this didn't seem to affect them at all.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Gonna need more EV fuel.