It's not at all unusual for customers to not have any real understanding of what they are buying. After all, so many modern products have such a plethora of features that most of them never get used. Then there are cars. Even many engineers don't know how everything on a new car works, so it's not surprising that car buyers don't. For example, take which wheels are being driven. The reality is that even the tamest of modern cars have handling limits well beyond what most drivers ever utilize.
During BMW's recent annual meeting, CEO Norbert Reithofer acknowledged that front wheel drive models would be added to the future lineup in a bid to help reduce fuel consumption and emissions. BMW has generally tried to protect its image of building cars for enthusiast drivers, so the thought of a front-drive BMW seems anathema. However a survey of BMW 1 Series owners apparently convinced Reithofer that as long as the company still told customers that it built the "Ultimate Driving Machine," all would be okay. What brought them to this conclusion? Eighty percent of 1 Series drivers thought the car already had front-wheel drive. For the record, neither the 1 Series nor any other BMW-badged car has ever had front-wheel drive.
No wonder consumers are so shocked when they have a hard time hitting the EPA mileage ratings.
[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req'd]