BMW CEO: “Ready for front drive”

News | March 25th, 2010 by 42
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The BMW front-wheel drive saga continues. Reports after reports come to confirm that BMW’s plans to build a front-wheel drive vehicle in the future are past the planning stage. In our opinion, being open about their future FWD plans, BMW is also conducting a market study to test consumers’ reactions and industry analysts’ response.

To move away from the driving point, let’s focus a bit on the latest article from UK magazine Autocar. Quoting BMW’s CEO Norbert Reithofer, Autocar reports that BMW brand is strong enough to branch out into building front-wheel drive cars.

At a recent event, Reithofer outlined BMW’s medium term product strategy and also “touched” the latest survey on BMW 1 Series and the false assumption of a FWD vehicle.

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“It is true about 80 percent of the 1-series owners we surveyed either thought their car was front wheel drive or that they didn’t know the layout. But these were the drivers of the three and five-door hatchback models.”

So, in other words, the 1-Series enthusiasts are grouped around the Coupe model and those very same owners are aware the differences between RWD and FWD. Fair assumption?

It certainly seems like it since in his next comment, Reithofer states:

“However, nearly all the owners of 1-series coupe models knew their car was rear-wheel drive. These buyers appreciate the driving dynamics of rear-drive. But for other owners they bought the 1-series because of the engineering and the quality and engine performance and so on.”

Now while this is a fact proved over and over before, it still comes as a surprise to us that there is such a clear separation between the owners of these two 1 Series variants.

A logic question arise: what was the point behind this survey? Marketing scope? Brand perception?

“This research has helped us to be confident that BMW can build front-drive cars in a new market segment. But the next 1-series, when it is launched in 18 months or so, will be rear-wheel drive, as will all the future variants.”

Stay tuned, the saga will certainly continue……..

[Source: Autocar ]