The early years
1913 – The nucleus
MTU no doubt had its origin in the aircraft engine factory founded in 1913 by Karl Rapp at Munich's Oberwiesenfeld.
1917 – Bayerische Motorenwerke (BMW) launched
In 1917, Rapp Motorenwerke became Bayerische Motorenwerke (BMW) from which in 1934 a spin-off emerged, BMW Flugmotorenbau GmbH, a milestone in the history of MTU.
1918 – BMW Illa – the "Bavarian engine"
Founded in 1917, BMW rapidly grew to become the world's third-largest engine maker, with 3,500 personnel earning their bread and butter at its Munich facility. In 1918 they started manufacturing the BMW Illa engine, which also became known as the "Bavarian engine". BMW had emerged in 1917 from the Munich-based Rapp Motorenwerke GmbH.
1925 – Daimler and Benz: aircraft engine expertise
From the very beginning, Daimler and Benz played a significant part in the development and production of aircraft engines. After Daimler equipped the zeppelin LZ1 airship with its engines, the company in 1925 began developing its DB 600, a landmark engine whose basic design continued through subsequent generations of Daimler-Benz aircraft engines. It was this know-how of Daimler-Benz AG, Germany's leading engine manufacturer in the 1940's, that largely helped the later MTU gain the leadership position it now enjoys.
1926 – the Daimler-Benz merger
After the conclusion of World War I, aircraft engine production suffered under the constraints imposed by the Versailles Treaty. Engine makers were therefore compelled to diversify their product lines. Simultaneously, the need to cooperate became increasingly apparent. In 1926, Daimler and Benz merged, laying the foundation of a uniquely successful corporate history. BMW in turn collaborated closely with Pratt & Whitney and when the dictates of the Versailles Treaty were lifted, vigorously returned to aircraft engine making.
1934 – Launch of BMW Flugmotoren GmbH
On December 22, 1934, BMW AG divested its BMW Flugmotorenbau GmbH in an attempt to duck the growing pressure the Nazis exerted also on this sector of the production history.
1936 – Manufacturing aircraft engines at Allach
BMW Flugmotorenbau GmbH in 1936 moved into the new factory it had built at Allach on the outskirts of Munich. This is where the MTU Aero Engines is located today.
1940 - Large-scale production in Munich-Allach
With the BMW 801, BMW Flugmotorenbau GmbH developed the first German twin-row radial engine. With the Nazi regime’s ever-expanding military build-up and the subsequent war, during which the BMW 801 found extensive use as the powerplant for a number of fighter aircraft, among them the Focke-Wulf Fw190, the company pushed the speed of development and the scale of production to the limits of its capacity. Sadly it even went far beyond, especially towards the end of the war, when thousands of forced laborers had to work at the plant to further increase its output. After just two years of development, the first engines were delivered in 1940, and production — which mainly took place in Munich-Allach — was ramped up to around 1,000 units per month by early 1944. In all, the company produced some 30,000 BMW 801s.
1945 – The post-war era
At the conclusion of World War II, the production of aircraft engines was halted when the factory was occupied by U.S. troops. It was largely spared the fate of dismantling, not uncommon at the time, and did not build any more aircraft engines until much later, in 1955.