When BMW of North America was founded in 1975, it offered only four models and sold around 19,000 cars. However the history of BMW goes back a bit earlier in the U.S. than the official introduction of the BMW 3 Series E 21 in 1975 for the 1976 model year.

A small core of aficionados had been collecting Bavarian Motor Works vehicles since they were first imported to the U.S. by famed dealer Max Hoffman in 1954.

Born in Austria in 1904, Hoffman later migrated to the United States and, by the 1950s, had established an influential auto import business that was based in New York City. Among a number of both rare and now commonplace marques, he decided to import his first BMWs in 1954 and, as the decade went on, actually had a hand in suggesting some of the design features that were incorporated into the stunning BMW 507.

Today the United States are BMW’s second-largest national market.

BMW of North America is also responsible for supporting over 70,000 jobs at the United States – at factory, dealers and direct suppliers – through its Spartanburg plant in South Carolina.

BMW will also celebrates its 100th birthday this year with a series of concept models and new products.

Here is a video showcasing the current state of affairs in the United States.