• Mar 23, 2010
2010 BMW 135i – Click above for high-res image gallery

No, this isn't a joke. Really. Automotive News reports that BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer shared this statistic during a call with analysts last week. It is unclear where this information came from within BMW, but it still comes as a staggering surprise that 80 (eighty!) percent of 1 Series owners believe that they are living with front-wheel drive.

As we reported earlier, BMW is planning to bring front-wheel-drive vehicles to market in the near future, and the automaker is worried that it might confuse customers by adding these new products to the rear-drive-only lineup.

Guess not.

We firmly believe that all current 1 Series owners who think their car is front-wheel drive should hand over their keys immediately... to us.



[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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  • 125 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      At first glance it's shocking, but not really when you continuously poll people like I do. I've been asking everyone about what they like and don't like about their cars since I was a kid. Most people like their car, but know little to nothing about it.

      I was surprised to find out years ago when I briefly sold Subarus and Volvos that most people didn't know whether their current car had ABS or not. I was also surprised that most didn't know how AWD or traction control would benefit them, let alone that these features were available.

      The other shocker is that most people take only three days to buy a car. When they're near the end of three days, they're tired of looking and want to buy. This entirely explains the roaring success of Pontiac Grand Ams in the '80s and '90s. A nice, racy looking conventional car that does really well on the test drive around the block. Couple that with discounts and agressive financing and you've got yourself a winner, saleswise.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can't even count how many times I've been asked if my old 6-series is rear-wheel-drive.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They must drive backwards a lot.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would like to know how many Lexus IS250 (non-AWD) and IS350 owners are aware that their cars are RWD.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'd be surprised if Lexus owners knew that power goes from the engine to the wheels, pushing the car forward. Every other car owner seems like a genius in the presence of a Lexus / Toyota owner. They can't even turn their car on without a call to the dealer; and believe their SA when they're told that 5 electrical problems a month is 'normal' and 'reliable'.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Autoblog - for God's sake think logically about what you're posting. Of all the car owners in the world, how many do you think are avid car enthusiasts? Probably no more than 10%. The vast majority of people by cars either to get from A to B, because the like the styling or because they like the badge. Many of those won't have a clue - or even care - which wheels the drivetrain moves.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And they all probably drive automatics! ;)
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have a hard time believing this. I'm sure that the BMW fellow said that, but I don't think it is true.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Most buyers are not enthusiasts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Zee Germans will not be happy about this.
      • 4 Years Ago
      so....much....F A I L !
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is virtually identical to what Chrysler discovered when it was pondering moving the LH cars to RWD.

      The shocking part to me is that it has not changed!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I face palmed so hard that i have a handprint on my face now
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have a faceprint on my hand.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Collective :facepalm: Great, another excuse for people to think that all BMW owners are clueless idiots. Any fellow BMW owner who doesn't know their car is either RWD or AWD, please turn in your keys to someone who will actually enjoy the vehicle. Thanks.
        • 4 Years Ago
        sounds like BMW needs to get back to knowing its core customer. Yes, selling to the legions of lemmings is great to make bucks, but it dilutes your brand's values. I don't think The Ultimate Driving Machine....Being Driven by Idiots is the message they want to convey.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It doesn't change the fact that BMW are going to sell out on their core principles if they follow through with a fwd BMW badged car.

        The front wheels steer and the rear wheels drive. That's what the BMW adverts used to promote.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @CarJacker: I've met several Audi owners who didn't know they owned the FWD version of the A3 or A4. They assumed every Audi had Quattro AWD. How's that for a fail? lol
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bet you they can tell you which Gel gets the best set. Or what shade of spray on Snookie uses on Jersey Shore. Or, oh this is too easy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Mr. CEO Norbert Reithofer is way off on this one.
        I'm just not buying this, as a 1 owner who bought the car for the RWD performance with a big heart, small package philosophy.
        He must have a damn good marketing reason why he said this!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not surprised. Too many people are shocked that my E36 328i is manual, so you could tell me most BMW owners think their car is British and I wouldn't bat an eye. That's not even touching the whole "V6" thing. They should have a survey with that instead; how many people think their BMW has a V6.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Next thing you'll know these oblivious morons will complain of 135i...unintended acceleration(!).
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hey, for many years during most of the 90's, most Cadillac owners thought the Deville & Seville sedans were RWD vehicles. I'm sure many w/n that bunch was (painfully) informed of their true drivetrain config by owners of M-B, BMW, and Lexus cars.

        I would doubt that some BMW salesmen have heard potential customers mention that since the 1-series was so small, it must be FWD. And that was the reason the customer wanted to get the small Bimmer. And a lot of people still believe that RWD is horrible in the winter ---- but they disregard all the CrownVic/GrandMarguis taxis, police cruisers, and blue-hair driven examples year-round. I would assume that most consumers don't understand that today's tech advances in stability control and limited-slip diffs have provided excellent reasons to buy a nice RWD vehicle if you like it
        • 4 Years Ago
        Great cars plagued by annoying owners (in this case dumb owners), second only to Infinity owners.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree. I'd like one of these morons to give me their 1 series please (preferably a 135...). Thanks.
        • 4 Years Ago
        makes perfect sense to me!

        BMW = brand of choice for new-money immigrant badgewhores!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Probably because these cars all drive like they are front-wheel. You can barely get the wheels to slip and the traction control kicks in.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The same Bimmer poseurs who think the BMW 2002 was made...8 yrs ago.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have enough room left in my garage for half a car! I think a I srs rwd will fit nxt to my 528i M also rwd! I'm not quite sure if the 1 srs fwd will fit though! Isn't a bit bigger than the rwd? Any help please from an idiot out there that perhaps got his/her BMW because the payment was right or the price dropped ! Shame on these dealers who sell price b4 product..I recommend that the everyone buyes or leases a new BMW to be given a free ticket to the driving school in BMW center in SC..and there it will be up to BMW ppl to brain wash himher to bring them into the real ultimate driving machine life style!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wonder if they polled 3/5/6/7-series owners with the same question...would LOVE to hear about those results
        • 4 Years Ago
        In all fairness, I bet those same people couldn't have told you the difference between FWD and RWD until it was explained to them for this survey.
        • 4 Years Ago
        and people say that BMW owners are performance oriented '' hahaha give me a break you wanna be''''
        • 4 Years Ago
        "BMWs = good cars, generally driven by idiots"

        Until the free service coverage runs out. Then you bend over.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @fzero: ditto.

        And people wonder why Toyotas have "unintended" acceleration. Ha, I'd say 90% are drivers too distracted to know if they are hitting the brake or gas pedal.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "The craziest damn thing you'll hear today: 80% of BMW 1 Series owners think their car is FWD"

        "They" think FWD = Four Wheel Drive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's not surprising. Of Acura buyers, 54% (a few years ago) thought their cars were rear wheel drive. Of all car buyers, 86% thought Miatas were front wheel drive and (at the time, different study) 40+% of 3-Series buyers thought their cars were front wheel drive.

        You can't fix stupid. But you can shine a light on it with market research.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The 20% are the reason the 80% buy a BMW. They want the car the enthusiasts buy, they just don't know why.

        I bet the number is higher than 80% for the 3-Series.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, because none of the owners bought the vehicle because it looks nice, or has a BMW badge, or has a nice interior with gadgets they like (what there may be 1 person that likes iDrive).

        Face it, most people buy cars because they have to drive to work and other places. Very few people buy cars because they actually love cars. Most people don't know anything about cars. As long as it gets them where they are going, that is all that matters. And for a few of them, its a fashion statement or they like the built in navigation or how the seats feel, or for others its reliability or not standing out.

        Beyond that, this is somewhat suspect anyways coming from BMW and not an actual survery firm. Be that BMW is working on creating FWD cars and they would obviously want to spin that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @JMills,
        You're exactly right. The majority of 1-series models are the 3- ad 5-door hatchbacks tooling around Europe -- largely not purchased by enthusiasts.

        In the US, the 1-series was marketing as a performance vehicle in coupe-only form, so obviously the statistics would be different here.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I bet more Audi drivers know what's pulling the weight under their asses!
        • 4 Years Ago
        @James Sonne: That's what the DSC button is for ;)
        • 4 Years Ago
        I can believe this. A lot of BMW buyers couldn't tell their ass from their elbow, either..

        But they might notice that the BMW handles better, and not have the slightest clue *why* that is.
        • 4 Years Ago
        80% of buyers buy their car strictly on image, reputation and looks. The number that don't know basic information about their vehicle is staggering. Most people can't accurately tell you what country or plant their vehicle came from. Very few have actually read or understood the owners manual. I can't tell you how many people I have heard of complaining that they don't like the autolocking or other chimes and systems on cars that have the ability to turn it off if you just read the manual. I know plenty of drivers who have no clue how to use cruise control.

        Most of the posters here have some clue about vehicles because it is an area of interest. However I would bet a lot of people on this board can't tell you what brand of hard drive the computer they are using has or basic information about the processor and video card. Most people walk into a store or look online and buy their computer prebuilt based on what they think is the fastest machine they can afford. They think it runs on a "Dell processor".

        Most consumers don't take the time to educate themselves about the things they are buying.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Me = Not one of those idiots ;)
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