The Test Of Time: Bmw's Ethical Dilemmas Over History

1983 words - 8 pages

This Research paper reports on the ethics of BMW through its history starting from 1916 to present time of 2013. It shows the progression of BMW’s ethical dilemmas of having prisoners of war and concentration camp workers, allegation of bribery, to its racial discrimination. And the changes that where implemented that led them to be on Ethisphere Institute's top 100 list of the World's Most Ethical Companies for 2009. Such changes such as new management, changing conduct codes, improving environmental awareness, and ethics programs to insure no reoccurring incidents.

Bayerische Flugzeugwerke Werke (BFW) was founded on March 7th, 1916. At this time BFW was making parts for trains and retro-fitting planes with their revolutionary engines. By the 1922 due to war they were no longer allowed to produce such engines. In 1922 Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) acquired the BFW plant. Since its founding in 1916 BMW has been diligently working to make itself one of the premier motor cars in the world. Having such a significant history in the automotive world BMW has had to watch every step with precision, but not always with honorable ethics in mind, having been in line with Nazi’s during World War II, to money scandals in current years. What changes through all this corruption and mishap made BMW to make Ethisphere Institute's top 100 list of the World's Most Ethical Companies for 2009.
Günther Quandt who before WWI gained substantial amounts of BMW stock, and became ruling stock holder of BMW. Later Günther became head of the company. In 1910 Günther had a son Herbert, who was Co head with Günther. Günther and Herbert in the late 1920’s built motorcycles, plane engines, and where just starting to produce its legendary cars. With production good, Günther had several more factories built to keep up with the load. In 1933 Günther became an active member of the Nazi party once Hitler was elected. With substantial wealth, and having the previous knowledge of building planes Hitler gave Günther the title of “Wehrwirtschafts führer” (Military and Economic leader). By the early 40’s BMW was now devoting its resources almost exclusively to building aircraft engines for the German Air Force, as well as chemicals and batteries. To help with such a work load “Quandt factories employed 50,000 slave laborers to churn out weapons and ammunition for the Nazis during World War Two, making the family very rich” (Fiona). Many ended up dyeing from terrible work conditions. Alongside with Porsche, BMW helped to create a new peoples car called Volkswagen, just one of the few projects entrusted to BMW by Hitler himself. This kept production up and the financial stability at an extraordinary high. After the war was over BMW’s head factory was destroyed by US troops, having all machinery dismantled and sold for scrap. With no longer factories to produce, and all machinery confiscated. BMW went into a financial hole.
This left Günther and the rest of his family in a very...

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