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80 Percent Of BMW 1-Series Owners Think Their Car Is Front-Wheel Drive

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Last week’s announcement that BMW is planning to launch a new entry-level model with a front-wheel drive powertrain would certainly have had some brand purists spewing, but for the large majority of new car buyers it would appear that it doesn’t matter which wheels are doing the driving because most wouldn’t even notice.

Any enthusiast would almost instantly recognize whether a car is front, rear or all-wheel drive once they hop behind the wheel but according to a survey run by BMW, most new car buyers are clueless on the issue.

Speaking to analysts following the release of BMW’s 2009 financial results last week, CEO Norbert Reithofer revealed that 80 percent of 1-series owners believe they are driving a front-wheel drive car.

Reithofer explained that he is not worried about adding a front-wheel drive model to BMW’s lineup, but he did admit that the survey results on the 1-series came as “quite a surprise” to the automaker.

It's not yet clear what BMW expects the move to a front-wheel drive platform will do to the brand's image, though so far it doesn't look like the smallest BMWs are planned for the U.S. and these survey results show that the automaker doesn’t have too much to fear.

BMW will be using a newly developed front-wheel drive platform that will be shared with the next-generation MINI range. For more details, check out our previous story by clicking here.

[Automotive News, sub req’d]

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Comments (8)
  1. Just goes to show that BMW went from being an enthusiasts brand to a posers brand long ago but the gear heads have refused to believe it.
     
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  2. @ Jim, I think the introduction of the 5-Series GT killed whatever credibility BMW had left. On the other hand, car companies are doing it tough and at the end of the day they are there to make money. It's not like the old days anymore.
     
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  3. Yeah, 80%. Riiiiiiiight. Who conducted the survey, where, how was the question phrased, how many respondents? I can imagine they approached 50 under-25 female drivers of 1ers and 3ers at the service center in Munich and asked: Is your BMW a) FWD b) 4WD c) AWD d) RWD? Someone who is powerful but not too sharp has an agenda; fine. But please do not blame Americans for the disastrous product choices ahead--I thought BMW was just getting over Bangle!
     
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  4. this is because 80% of 1 series owners are women!
    and prob only have 128 cabrios, lol.
    135i is badass, while they may not be to "purists" , they are also not 125 hp 4 bangers anymore as well. for under $1500, U can turn it into a 400+ HP/TQ monster!! Modern BMWs are THE most well rounded cars on the road, yes they got heavy but remain a near perfect 50/50 and they feel damn smooth doing 150+ while changing lanes, they have progressed in a good way.
     
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  5. Let me know when some of those idiots start dumping their one series in CT, I'd have no trouble taking a car from someone who thought they bought a front drive bimmer. A 128i is an e30 325is reborn!
    Sure the Quandt family makes lots of money from people who buy the brand name, good for them. They probably could have made lots more money on the one series if they advertised them, and didn't equip and price them so close to the three series. They didn't want to be perceived as going down-market, yet here they are now, creating a sub-one series......
     
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  6. If Reithofer said it, he stands behind it's truthfulness. Pathetic. Just wish I could afford one of these, but my wallet goes into convulsions just thinking about it...
     
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  7. It's not just owners who are clueless. I've seen newspaper ads by BMW dealers listing V-6 engines in 3 and 5 series!
     
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  8. If this is true, it will be extremely pathetic.
     
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