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The Correct Pronunciation of BMW

Last week while researching German to English translations and brushing up on my German I had an epiphany that took 17 years of BMW ownership to realize: the correct way to pronounce BMW is not how I’ve been saying it! That’s right, for the last seventeen years of fanatical BMW ownership I’ve been saying it completely the wrong way. In fact, the official BMW website now has a page dedicated to pronouncing their brand’s name so you don’t have to make the same mistake I did. They share video pronunciations in a variety of languages from French to Mandarin and everything in between. You can visit that page here.

While working on translations and designs for my new brand, I realized that the W in BMW is actually spoken as “Vee” in Germany. I knew that the W was pronounced as a V as part of the entire word, but hadn’t previously considered the individual letter itself or the letter as part of a name such as BMW. Therefore, everyone in Germany, Austria and most parts of Europe pronounce our favorite car maker as “Bee Em Vee”. To make sure we don’t have any embarrassing moments at the next cars and coffee, I’ve made a short video this week on how to pronounce BMW, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche here:

So, what do you think? Should we pronounce our favorite car maker brands by their German spoken names or by the way they’re marketed to us in the US? Personally I think it would be hard to start saying “Bee Em Vee” instead of “Bee Em Double U” after all these years. Besides, we just don’t hear that pronunciation here in the US. Let me know in the comments below.


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