CNBC goes inside one of the most successfully managed brands and companies in the world — BMW. Its familiar blue and white logo stands as the symbol of prestigious, high-performance, luxury cars. A one-time aircraft engine manufacturer that eventually moved to motorcycles and offbeat sports sedans, BMW today commands brand recognition and respect that is the envy of the commercial world.
CNBC Correspondent Carl Quintanilla takes viewers inside BMW’s secretive Tech Center, where teams of engineers obsess over the technical and mechanical details that the company says justify its cars’ high prices. Acoustic specialists consider every sound in the car, from the exhaust note to the window motors; ergonomic engineers labor over the stunningly complex mechanical labyrinth that is a modern seat; and crash specialists deliberately wreck a parade of high-dollar vehicles to improve safety.
BMW is a company enjoying success, but also facing significant challenges. Growing environmental and political pressures are making it increasingly tough to market high-performance cars, but BMW is staking its future on its ability to build vehicles that are both sustainable and fun. BMW also faces daunting competition, not only from other German manufacturers like Audi, but also from carmakers in Japan, Korea — and soon, China.
BMW: A Driving Obsession is the fascinating story behind a once small, struggling company that transformed itself into a global luxury car powerhouse, and is now going flat out to maintain its edge.