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

 
 
 
 
Getting the Bugs Out: The Rise, Fall, and Comeback of Volkswagen in America (Adweek Books)
Author: David Kiley
ISBN 13: 9780471263043
ISBN 10: 471263044
Edition: N/A
Publisher: Wiley
Publication Date: 2002-11-04
Format: Paperback
Pages: 302
List Price: $16.95
 
 

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.

Publishers Weekly

The story of how a rigid German automaker stormed the American market with its lovable Beetle, virtually disappeared, then came roaring back is told here by USA Today's Detroit bureau chief. Part skeptic, part admirer, Kiley details the car's roots in Nazi Germany, suggesting it grew out of Hitler's obsession with creating an autobahn and giving German citizens the chance to have their own cheap cars to drive on it. When VW infiltrated America in the 1950s, it found itself fighting Detroit's lumbering giants, who believed Americans simply desired a steady stream of gas-guzzling, chrome-plated behemoths. By remedying the almost complete lack of affordable cars with good mileage, the Beetle was able to overcome its strange appearance, weak engine and reputation of being "Hitler's car" and quickly developed a dedicated following, thanks to whimsical, innocent ads. But in the 1970s, cheap, reliable Japanese compacts began eating away at the Beetle's lead, and through the '80s, the company was mostly dormant in America, with Beetles supplying only collectors. Then, in 1994, VW bowled over the press with its presentation of the new Beetle. Another series of engaging ads helped put it into the limelight and return to a prominent position. Kiley is realistic about VW's future, noting that Beetle sales have been dropping off and other brands like Passat are not picking up the slack. Although Kiley pays too much attention to the advertising end of things this is an Adweek Book, after all he deftly reports on the mystique and the reality of one of the auto world's enduring legends. (Nov.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.