5 famous companies that started out as something else entirely

Did you know Lamborghini started out selling tractors and Samsung was a grocery store that sold noodles?

by | Published on 10th Jul 2023

Did you know some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world started out selling completely different products? 

Lamborghini started out selling tractors, LG sold face cream, and Samsung was a tiny grocery store that sold noodles. 

From five to one, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting and absurd company beginnings.

READ MORE! Sausages, deodorant, and even ketchup – these are the weirdest products car companies have ever made

5. BMW – Aircraft engine 

BMW’s first product was an aircraft engine called the BMW Illa, it then moved onto pots and pans before eventually making cars. 

The company made aircraft engines from as early as 1917 to 1918 and again from 1933 to 1945. 

Its factories were heavily bombed during the war and it was actually banned from producing vehicles or aircraft when the war ended. 

To survive, BMW made pots, pans, and bicycles. 

It wasn’t until 1928 that vehicles became BMW’s biggest business. 

4. Lamborghini – tractors 

As some of you may know, the makers of the iconic Huracán started out producing tractors. 

Ferruccio Lamborghini was a seriously talented mechanic and served with the Air Force mechanic corps during World War II. 

After the war, Ferrucccio pivoted towards cars and motorcycles but still produced about one tractor a month. 

His big move to supercars happened thanks to a disagreement with Enzo Ferrari. 

When Ferruccio was experiencing trouble with his Ferrari 250 GT, he took it to to Enzo Ferrari, who told him “the problem is not with the car but with the driver”. 

Ferruccio took this as a challenge, and that was the beginning of Lamborghini supercars.

3. Amazon – bookstore 

Jeff Bezos walked away from his high-paying job in private equity when he was 30 to start his own bookstore. 

In 1994, Amazon only sold books, but Bezos had big dreams and knew he wanted it to be an ‘everything store’. 

Back in the early days, Bezos and his employees would ring a bell when they sold a book, but that tradition was quickly dropped when sales started to grow exponentially. 

Amazon is now worth about $1,299 billion and Bezos himself has an estimated net worth of $125 billion. 

2. LG – facial creme 

Now one of the biggest consumer electrics companies in the world, LG started out very differently. 

The company actually started off making a face cream in South Korea called Lucky. 

It flew off the shelves thanks to its high-quality ingredients and was followed by Lucky toothpaste, soap, and detergent. 

LG’s move towards electronics started in 1959 with the production of radios. 

It was the beginning of something huge for LG when it moved towards phones, fans, TVs, and refrigerators.

1. Samsung – the grocery store 

Samsung undoubtedly has one of the most unique beginnings. 

The company was founded in 1938 in Korea as a grocery store. 

The core of the business was trading noodles and similar products. 

It then turned into a woolen mill, making textiles, before acquiring a bunch of businesses including cement and fertilizer companies. 

Samsung first entered electronics in 1969 with black and white TVs. 

Now, Samsung is one of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers and pulled in more than USD $43 billion last year alone.

Want more like this? Check out some of the weirdest products car companies have ever made!



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Kate Bain is the Page Editor at supercarblondie.com. She is based in Dubai and coordinates coverage of the latest news across automotive, technology, and lifestyle. Kate has a bachelor's degree in business and post graduate in journalism. She is an experienced editor and journalist who has worked for News Corp, Daily Mail Australia, and Sky News. When she's not at work, you'll find her attached at the hip to her dog, Thor.