BMW Dixi

The first vehicle ever made by BMW was the Dixi. From 1904 on, Dixi was a car brand of Eisenach car factory that had difficulty selling its 6/24 and 9/40 models in the tough automotive economy of the 1920s. Eisenach was having trouble entering into the small car market so in 1927 they agreed to a licensing agreement with the Austin Motor Company to build a variation of their Austin 7. The agreement included a production level of 2,000 vehicles a year, and Dixi paid Austin a royalty on each vehicle that was produced. The initial 100 vehicles were supplied as kits, but by December 1927 the official Dixi-manufactured vehicles, the DA-1 3/25PS rolled off the production line. The 'DA' designation stood for Deutsche Ausführung, or ‘German version', while the 3/15 indicated the actual horsepower ratings and the taxation.

Virtually identical to the Austin, the Dixi nonetheless was left-hand drive and used metric fasteners. Available body styles were roadster, coupe, tourer, and sedan with a few chassis that went to external coachbuilders. The majority of the vehicles left the factory as tourers. BMW purchased the Automobilwerk Eisenach in 1928 and with it, the rights to build the Dixi vehicle. The vehicles were originally badged as BMW Dixi, but the Dixi name was dropped in 1929 and the DA-1 was replaced by a slightly updated version, the BMW 3/15 DA-2; the vehicle that allowed BMW to survive the Great Depression.
The original Dixi's utilized an open room and were powered by a743cc 4 cylinder engine that produced 15 hp. With a top speed of 50 mph, the Dixi 3/15 PS was basically the same model as the US Bantam and the Japanese Datsun. The DA/2 was the new and improved version that featured an all-steel body, 4-wheel brakes. In 1930, Dixi scored its first wins in motor racing. Total production of the BMW Dixi was 18,976 units. This period of the Dixi production ended up being the best for BMW and was the beginning of all of the success that is BMW today.

By Jessica Donaldson

Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.