Driven: Inside BMW, the Most Admired Car Company in the World

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An exclusive look at one of the world's most successful and controversial companies, and the mysterious family behind it.

BMW is arguably the most admired carmaker in the world. It's financial performance is the envy of its competitors, and BMW products inspire near-fanatical loyalty. While many carmakers struggle with falling sales, profits and market share, demand for BMWs continues to grow, frequently outpacing production. Now, David Kiley-Detroit Bureau Chief at USA Today and author of Getting the Bugs Out, which covered Volkswagen's demise and rebirth, goes inside the fabled German automaker to see how it does what it does so well. With unprecedented access to BMW executives, Kiley goes behind the walls of BMW's famed "Four Cylinders" headquarters in Munich at a time when the company is in its most aggressive, and some say riskiest, expansion in its history and when some of the company's new products, like the 7 Series sedan and Z4 roadster, are for the first time drawing as many barbs from critics as bouquets. Kiley covers intimate details of the boardroom drama surrounding the company's nearly disastrous acquisition and subsequent sale of the British Rover Group and its expansion into selling MINI and Rolls Royce cars. Besides being a world-class carmaker, BMW is also considered one of the smartest consumer marketing companies and Kiley explores the extraordinary value and management of the BMW brand mystique. He also takes a revealing look at the mysterious and ultra-private Quandt family of Bad Homburg Germany, which owns a controlling stake in BMW: Johanna and Susanne Quandt, two of the wealthiest women in Europe and Stefan Quandt, one of the wealthiest bachelors on the continent.

David Kiley (Ann Arbor, MI) is the Detroit Bureau Chief at USA Today who has covered the auto industry for 17 years. He has been featured on Nightline, CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR and the Today show. He is also the author of Getting the Bugs Out: The Rise, Fall, and Comeback of Volkswagen in America (0-471-26304-4), also available from Wiley.

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From the Inside Flap:

BMW is perhaps the most admired carmaker in the world–renowned for a level of luxury and performance that inspires near-fanatical loyalty in its customers. While other carmakers struggle with falling sales even with hefty rebates, BMW can’t seem to make cars fast enough. Combining world-class engineering, intelligent management, and a unique corporate culture, BMW produces consistently superior cars that are the most benchmarked vehicles in the industry.

In Driven, David Kiley presents an inside look at the fabled automaker, revealing the business philosophy and practices that make BMW more than just another carmaker, and the unsurpassed quality that makes a "Bimmer" more than just a car. With uncommon access to BMW executives and records, Kiley explains how the company emerged from the wreckage of World War II to become the most respected car producer and one of the most profitable automakers in the world.

Kiley examines the business practices that put BMW on top, and the marketing efforts that keep it there. BMW’s brand strength and knack for developing the most sought-after cars in the world inspire jealousy and admiration among marketers everywhere. Its well-crafted brand message–The Ultimate Driving Machine–is widely admired for its clarity and consistency, just as BMW’s cars are admired for their authenticity and performance.

More than just a company, BMW is an iconic symbol of the successful rebirth of German industry. For the first time in the U.S. media, Kiley introduces readers to the family behind BMW’s success–the mysterious and secretive Quandts. Behind the walls of the family compound in Bad Homburg lives Johanna Quandt, one of Europe’s wealthiest and most reclusive women, and her equally wealthy adult children, Stefan and Susanne, who successfully engineered a management coup in 1999. Driven not only tells the story of BMW, but also the story of one of the most powerful families in Europe.

Excepting the occasional speed bump, BMW has seen more than four decades of steady growth and success. Kiley explores the company’s ups and downs from top to bottom, including the disastrous acquisition and eventual divestiture of the British Rover Group and the controversial hiring of head designer Chris Bangle. For business leaders who want to emulate the company’s excellence, Driven digs deep to reveal the practices that make BMW the king of the road.

From the Back Cover:

Praise for Driven

"A lot of us in the auto industry watch and study BMW closely because it does so many things right. Lately, it has made many controversial choices in designs and new products that are testing its track record. David Kiley does an excellent and timely job of exploring what has been right about BMW and asking the right questions about whether it will continue to lead the industry in brand and product focus and excellence. A fascinating read."
–Bob Lutz
Vice Chairman of General Motors and author of Guts: 8 Laws of Business from One of the Most Innovative Business Leaders of Our Time

"David Kiley has captured the unique DNA of BMW and presents it in a straightforward and readable manner. He gets at the essence of the BMW brand and what makes it tick."
–J. D. "Dave" Power lll
Founder, J. D. Power and Associates

"David Kiley takes you under the hood at BMW to show why it is one of the most successful automakers in the world. The secret to the company’s success is also the secret to Kiley’s book: an emphasis on quality and attention to detail. Throw in Kiley’s ability to weave together juicy details and intricate stories, and you end up with a fascinating book."
–Adam L. Penenberg
author of Tragic Indifference and Spooked

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