Don't be surprised if you pull in to a drive-through overseas for a Royale with Cheese, only to find yourself guessing what the S-Class in front of you has underhood. Because, you know, it's the little things: according to a report in The New York Times, European car buyers tend to have the nameplates removed from their vehicles in far greater numbers than those of us on the western shores of the Atlantic.

Although many European automakers don't even offer the factory nameplate-delete option in North America (one exception being Porsche), in their home markets, many customers prefer not to advertise, for example, which engine is under the hood. And it's not for some sort of sleeper effect to burn flashier cars at traffic lights, either: European buyers of German cars in particular (which tend to offer a wide range of engines in each model class) prefer to keep the specifics to themselves, regardless of what they've got sitting in the engine compartment.

Audi, for example, reports that a quarter of its buyers go for the badge-delete option, predominantly among top-end models in European markets. (Intriguingly, however, while forging the path between our hotel and the convention center for the recent Frankfurt show, we noticed almost every Audi on the road was equipped with the S-Line package for the faux-super-sedan look.) Conversely, American buyers tend to add badges – how many stock Mercedes and BMWs have you seen sporting AMG and M badges that didn't belong there? Meanwhile, in the Persian Gulf, they dunk 'em in chrome or gold plating. It's a case study in automotive sociology if we've ever seen one.

[Source: The New York Times]

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