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Jennifer Dauble


One-Hour Documentary Reported by CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla to Premiere on CNBC on Wednesday, July 13th at 9PM ET/PT

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., July 5, 2011—On Wednesday, July 13th at 9PM ET/PT, CNBC presents “BMW: A Driving Obsession,” a CNBC Original reported by award-winning correspondent Carl Quintanilla, that tells 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.

The one-hour documentary profiles one of the most successfully managed brands in the world. From its signature rounded headlights and kidney grilles to its infamous blue and white logo, BMW stands as a 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. Some critics wonder whether BMW is so successful – and its cars so ubiquitous – that its cachet might become diluted.

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. Quintanilla speaks with acoustic technicians and designers who consider every sound in the car, from the exhaust note to the window motors; ergonomic engineers who labor over the surprisingly complex mechanical puzzle that is a modern day seat; and crash specialists who deliberately wreck a parade of expensive cars to improve safety. He also profiles BMW’s chief designer and explains the fascinating process that starts with a pencil sketch and ends with a new model on the showroom floor.

While BMW says its cars are brilliantly engineered, some critics would argue that they are over-engineered. Quintanilla interviews David Champion, Senior Director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Division, who calls some BMW features unnecessarily “complex” and “very annoying.” He also argues that some BMW models have had significant reliability issues and on that score do not fare as well as most Japanese luxury brands.

Although BMW is currently dominating the premium car market, it faces daunting competition, not only from other German manufacturers like Audi and Mercedes Benz, but also from carmakers in Japan, Korea—and soon, China. Its challenge though may come from its own success. 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.

CNBC also travels to the village of Goodwood, England, home to the most precious gem in BMW’s crown, Rolls Royce. Viewers will see the meticulous assembly of one of the world’s finest automobiles—all by hand.

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Mitch Weitzner is the Senior Executive Producer of “BMW: A Driving Obsession.” Wally Griffith is the Senior Producer. James Segelstein and Hakimah Shah are Producers. Ray Borelli is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Research, Scheduling and Long Form Programming.

CNBC’s “BMW: A Driving Obsession” will re-air on Wednesday, July 13th at 10PM ET/PT and Sunday, July 17th at 10PM ET.

About CNBC:

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