Getting the Bugs Out: The Rise, Fall, and Comeback of Volkswagen in America

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9780471403937: Getting the Bugs Out: The Rise, Fall, and Comeback of Volkswagen in America
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The fascinating story of Volkswagen's raging success and near collapse in America

After a wild ride of ups and downs for almost three decades, Volkswagen has regained its stature as one of America's most beloved auto makers. In Getting the Bugs Out, journalist and auto industry expert David Kiley tells the complete story of the rise, fall, and comeback of Volkswagen. Kiley traces the company's rise from Ferdinand Porsche's original design for the Beetle, through the Nazi era, and up to the Beetle's ascendancy during the flower-power 1960s. He explores the reasons for VW's downward spiral through the 1970s and 1980s, including the devastating management blunders that led to such failed efforts as the Rabbit, Dasher, Thing, and Scirocco, and equally catastrophic marketing initiatives, culminating in the notorious "Fahrfegnugen" series of ads. Finally, drawing upon his unique access to company insiders, Kiley tells the story of how Volkswagen achieved its phenomenal comeback beginning in the late 1990s through a combination of visionary management, cutting-edge product development, and brilliant marketing and advertising strategies.

David Kiley (Anne Arbor, MI), the Detroit Bureau Chief at USA Today, is a journalist with fifteen years of experience, ten of which have been devoted to covering the auto industry. He has written extensively for Adweek and Brandweek magazines.

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From the Publisher:

"A fascinating read for anyone connected to the automotive industry. And for those of us who create car advertising and who owe VW a debt of gratitude for raising the bar--and our pay scale--Kiley's insights into the historic Beetle ad campaign of the late 50's alone are worth the price of the book." --Larry Postaer, Co-founder and Director of Creative Services at Rubin Postaer & Associates

"Volkswagen inspired whole generation, especially a generation of advertising writers. David Kiley has captured what made the company and the brand so special, as well as what went so horribly wrong with the company before it found its way again. It is a valuable read for anyone in business, anyone working on a brand, anyone who has ever owned a Volkswagen or realized they were missing something by not owning onw. It's a fun and important story about a fun and important brand." --Donny Deutsch, Chairman of Deutsch Inc.

"Getting the Bugs Out: The Rise, Fall and Comeback of Volkswagen in America is a fascinating ride from the past to the present in the life of an icon of the global automotive industry. David Kiley has painted a vivid and insightful picture of the genesis of Volkswagen. He provides an intimate view of the personalities and business intrigue in the unfolding Volkswagen drama." (Dr. David Cole, Director, The Center for Automotive Research, Ann Arbor, MI)

"As an early Beetle owner and a financial journalist who has followed the successes and failures of Volkswagen in the U.S., I've been intrigued by David Kiley's new book, which sheds new -- and absorbing -- light on that phenomenon. "Getting the Bugs Out" is not only a fast-paced business story, but it also provides valuable insights major successes and blunders in marketing and manufacturing. What makes it a particularly good read is how Kiley skillfully weaves the VW saga around the personalities involved, both in the U.S. and abroad." (Myron Kandel, CNN Financial Editor)

From the Inside Flap:

For almost three decades, Volkswagen's ride has been on a wild track of many ups and downs. In between the heyday of the Beetle's popularity in the 1960s and the unveiling of the New Beetle in the 1990s, the beloved automaker lost its focus and suffered more than its share of near misses and total catastrophes. Poor decisions and banal advertising campaigns seemed to have stalled Volkswagen's growth for good. And yet this remarkable company has found its way back to the top, with the Beetle now a reborn icon in the United States-- and the sales of Volkswagen vehicles roaring toward levels not seen for thirty years.

Getting the Bugs Out is an engaging and informative story of how marketing savvy and advertising brilliance--combined with nostalgia and a fun-loving spirit--again won over the hearts (and wallets) of American consumers. Auto industry expert and journalist David Kiley traces Volkswagen's phenomenal turnaround, revealing all the intriguing details surrounding the birth and rise of the company as well as its downward spiral. He presents a treasure trove of VW history, going back to the design of the original Beetle by Ferdinand Porsche and examining the launch in America, which attracted both curiosity seekers and auto enthusiasts with VW's great value and solid performance.

You'll be there to see how the Volkswagen magic and "flower power" charmed the nation, along with the tongue-in-cheek and truthful ads that were so popular customers frequently framed and hung them in their homes. And you'll see how VW eventually began to fall behind in the ranks, with a falling dollar and lack of credible new products in the '70s chipping away at the company's previously unmarrable exterior.

Drawing upon his unique access to company insiders, Kiley gives you a fresh look into:
* The devastating management blunders that led to the failure of cars such as the Rabbit, Thing, Dasher, and Quantum
* How serious design flaws, quality issues, and encroaching Japanese competition resulted in the loss of billions of dollars
* Why trying to impart the Beetle mystique onto its other vehicles turned consumers away
* The notorious series of "Fahrvergnugen" ads

Kiley captures every suspenseful moment of the struggles behind the scenes to salvage the brand--and how the birth of fresh, off-beat advertising finally transformed the company. He chronicles the genius behind Volkswagen's remarkable comeback, examining the combination of visionary management, advanced technology, cutting-edge product development, and, of course, the ads that brought out buyers in droves and cemented VW's position as both a leader in marketing strategy and America's top European brand.

A compelling and enlightening account, Getting the Bugs Out has everything for the enthusiastic VW fan or the manager on the hunt for branding insights, wrapped in an innovative and inspiring tale you can take on the road.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780471263043: Getting the Bugs Out: The Rise, Fall, and Comeback of Volkswagen in America (Adweek Books)

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ISBN 10:  0471263044 ISBN 13:  9780471263043
Publisher: Wiley, 2002
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9780471225980: Getting the Bugs Out: The Rise, Fall, and Comeback of Volkswagen in America

John W..., 2002
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