Insights that Echo Beyond the Echo Chamber


Is it Beemer, Bimmer, or Beamer?

When it comes to talking like a “cool kid,” you must jettison the formal BMW moniker in favor of a nickname. After all, Chevrolet has Chevy, Subaru has Subie, and Honda, well, Honda. Maybe BMW doesn’t really require a nickname. However, it seems to have three: Bimmer, Beemer, and Beamer. They can’t all be correct, can they? Actually, no, not when referring to BMWs with four wheels.

What Is the Proper BMW Nickname?

BMW is already an acronym for Bayerische Motoren Werke (or Bavarian Motor Works in English). “BMW” certainly seems to shave a syllable or two off the full proper name, especially when you tack Aktiengesellschaft (Public Limited Company) to the end of it. But if you can reduce BMW’s five (“W” pronounces as three syllables) syllables down to two, why not?  

So, we went straight to the source to determine the official BMW nickname. Here’s what we learned.


The nickname Beamer originated in Great Britain and referred to BMW motorcycles. It was used to differentiate BMW bikes (Beamers) from those of British manufacturer BSA nicknamed “Beezers.” Jolly good.


Not willing to leave well enough alone, the Brits eventually adopted Beemer with a spelling better mimicking that of the term Beezer. Beamer and Beemer became interchangeable but still pertained to BMW motorcycles.


Eventually attaining a degree of popularity even in Germany, Bimmer is a product of American slang. As BMW cars gained traction among American car enthusiasts in the 1970s, Beamer was affectionately bandied about among the owner population. In that same decade, the Boston-based BMW owners called their newsletter “Bimmer.” However, the launch of a national American BMW owners’ magazine titled “Bimmer” finally inspired the popular movement to adopt the nickname Bimmer for BMW cars and, eventually, SUVs. It remains so today. Bimmer is the preferred nickname worldwide.

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