Debates over the relative values of front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive have raged for as long as automotive enthusiasm has existed, and after decades of argument, the only thing that anyone seems to agree on is that the the drive wheels matter. But do they? According to Automotive News Europe [sub]‘s Luca Ciferri,
More proof that customers don’t care about the difference between rwd and fwd came last week when BMW revealed that 80 percent of its 1-series owners believe the car is fwd
Ciferri wrote this in the “blog” section of the Automotive News [sub] website, and didn’t link to any sources to back his claim up. Meanwhile, a search of German news sources has failed to pull up stories that link to a source other than Ciferri’s blog post. Though Ciferri is a respected auto journalist, and we hesitate to accuse him of making this stuff up, there’s a definite chance that this study isn’t all that it seems. After all, Ciferri cites BMW’s research at a time when the Bavarians are developing the first ever FWD car to carry the famed BMW roundel. Though we don’t doubt that many BMW 1-series buyers might not know which wheels drive their cars, the 80 percent number seems suspiciously high. Furthermore, Ciferri doesn’t indicate whether that statistic reflects global customers, European buyers, or the American market. Combined with BMW’s obvious incentives to de-stigmatize front wheel drive, these problems leave us little choice but to take Ciferri’s statistics with a hefty grain of salt.