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Driven: Inside BMW, the Most Admired Car Company in the World Hardcover – April 2, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0471269205 ISBN-10: 0471269204 Edition: 1st

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Driven: Inside BMW, the Most Admired Car Company in the World + Inside the BMW Factories: Building the Ultimate Driving Machine + Bmw Enthusiast's Companion: Owner Insights on Driving, Performance and Service
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471269204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471269205
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By J H Murphy on July 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I got this book because I like to follow the automotive industry, rather than because I am a BMW fan. Reading "Driven" was both enjoyable and frustrating...the story is told reasonably well, although it drags a bit in its description of BMW stylists in Chapter 5, for example. But the missing link to me was the lack of followup in some topics.
The book comprises eight chapters with an introduction and epilogue. Each chapter title plays off the "Ultimate Driving Machine" ad line; in order, they are:
- "The Ultimate Cars" discusses the product line, and I felt that a little too much adulation came out here (the author is a 3-time BMW owner IIRC)
- "The Ultimate History" was a disappointment, completely omitting any discussion of motorcycles and only sparsely covering the aero engine side of the company. The author does eventually admit that the owners of BMW were (...)employing slave labor; while a lot of companies and industrialists in Weimar Germany supported the (...)party just to go along with the current power, but the author seemed to try to apologize too much for this facet of BMW's history.
- "The Ultimate Family" covers the Quandts, who have controlled BMW for over 40 years, along with Varta batteries and several other large German companies. This seemed a little circumspect, although I can certainly understand a need to protect sources and hold back a bit.
- "The Ultimate Brand" includes the history of BMW's advertising in the US, which is treated reasonably interestingly. (David Kiley also wrote a book on the classic VW ads in the US, and is probably the most qualified person to address this part of BMW.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Driven captures BMW at a very interesting time. As a three-time BMW owner, I have been facinated by how this company I love so much has been changing and shaking things up. Why have the designs been shaken up so much? Why did they acquire Rolls Royce and Mini? Kiley does a splendid job of exploring this, as well as a terrific chapter on the mysterious Quandt family that conrols BMW, and another on the ill-fated attempt to run the British company Rover. A great peak inside one of the world's most intriguing companies.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Naresh Gupta on August 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
300 pages of BMW. It should be ultimate bliss for any car enthusiast. But it turns out to be a bit of a drag, like a car stuck in third gear, promises that it has the power to go, but just cannot deliver the power.

The book is a fairly good history of how an aircraft manufacturing company with known prowess in making aircraft engines, went almost defunct during the WWII and than came back to first be seen as a serious car maker, than as a car brand that could compete with the famed Merc and than went on to overtake the Merc is global sweepstakes. And its subsequent buyout of Rolls, Mini and Rover too is well detailed out. And while the famed Bavarian company was able to turn on the magic for Rolls and Mini, its travails and failure to make good Rover too are well captured.

The book is divided in eight ultimate chapters. The Ultimate Cars, The Ultimate History, The Ultimate Family, The Ultimate Brand, The ultimate Stylists, The Ultimate Blunder, The Ultimate brand Expansion, and the Ultimate Hydrogen Future.

David had had ultimate access to the BMW executives and archives. This access comes through in almost every page in the book. The book goes into a painfully detailed history of company events. And instead of giving insights into what makes BMW a marvel of automobile engineering, we get a chronology of events.

Unfortunately David Kiley, is no Jeremy Clarkeson and Driven is not like "Born to be Riled". The book is too much of PR plug, with author seeing only side of the picture. But do read the book to know how fickle minded advertising pitch decisions are, and what led to the memorable BMW films campaign.

The book has its moments, but its few and far in between.

There may be no boring BMW, but there is a boring BMW book.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sodalug on August 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As an auto industry follower, I can appreciate this book as a sort of historical reference for someone perhaps doing research. But as enjoyable reading, it falls far short. The book goes into a painfully detailed history of company events. In fact, I felt the title was a bit misleading, since it made me expect some interpretation as to why BMW is as admired as it is. Instead you basically get a chronology of events.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bruce W. Heffner on February 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Every owner or potential owner needs to read this to appreciate and understand the heritage behind their "Ultimate Driving Machine".
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