Summary of Getting the Bugs Out

The Rise, Fall and Comeback of Volkswagen in America

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Getting the Bugs Out book summary
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8 Overall

7 Applicability

8 Innovation

10 Style


David Kiley’s insightful tome is as charmingly idiosyncratic as his subject, the VW Beetle or "Bug." Beginning with the Bug’s nasty political genesis as Hitler’s "people’s car," Kiley follows the methods marketers used to shape its 1960s and 1990s commercial identities. Kiley covers the Bug’s marketing history, from the obtuse (managers didn’t understand that it was essential to VW’s U.S. identity) to the brilliant (its sales renaissance). getAbstract recommends this book for its fascinating history, but also for its examples of marketing strategy and internal corporate knife-fighting that just might teach you a trick or two.

In this summary, you will learn

  • The story of Volkswagen’s fortunes in America
  • Why the Old Beetle was such a smash hit in the U.S. in the ’60s and early ’70s
  • How it profited from several memorable ad campaigns.


Made in America
Considering that Adolph Hitler commissioned the original Volkswagen Beetle, German reluctance to go retro with the New Beetle is understandable. However, economics ruled. Prior to the introduction of the new "People’s Wagon," the company’s fortunes were on a downward slope...
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About the Author

David Kiley is the Detroit bureau chief for USA Today. A journalist with 15 years experience, 10 of it covering the auto industry, Kiley has written extensively for various marketing and advertising trade magazines. He has also appeared on national television programs as an advertising and automotive industry analyst.

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