According to a post on the This is Broken blog (a must-read for anyone involved with human-machine interface design), Audi has sent out an e-mail to owners of its vehicles to inform them that certain “problems” are actually “features”. The messages advise owners to check “the owner privileges portfolio that came with your welcome kit” (what happened to “the owner’s manual”?) before giving the dealership an earful.
That’s certainly good advice, but of course a better solution is to design systems that are intuitive. Whether or not such a thing is possible in a complex modern luxury car is certainly a fair topic of debate, and indeed manufacturers must ensure that their dealer networks are able to properly educate their customers before and after the sale. This is also an example of how a manufacturer’s reputation can taint owners’ opinions and cause them to mistakenly identify problems.