BMW benefits from confused 1-series owners

Believe it or not, 80 percent of BMW 1-series owners believe they are driving a front-wheel-drive car.

Given that today is March 22, I promise this is not an early April Fools’ Day joke.

BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer shared the mind-boggling statistic during a call with analysts following the release of the company’s 2009 financial results last week.

The comment came after an analyst asked whether the German automaker risked confusing customers with the addition of fwd BMWs to a lineup that features only rear-drive models.

Reithofer said he is not worried about making the change, but he did admit that the survey results on the 1-series came as “quite a surprise” to BMW. 

Customers obviously are not turned off by the thought of owning a front-drive BMW, which means the German premium brand has a good chance to succeed with its plan to sell up to 1 million fwd BMW and Mini brand cars by the middle of this decade.

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    Saturn’s original plan was good

    Chrysler airbag sensors to be replaced in 355,000 minivans

    Chrysler Group LLC said it will replace a front airbag sensor in more than 355,500 minivans, starting in June.

    The automaker’s “safety improvement campaign” covers 355,562 of its 2005-2006 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, including 259,437 in the United States and 72,035 in Canada.

    The move comes after Chrysler found one of the front airbag crash sensors could crack under some environmental conditions and allow water to enter the sensor, potentially causing the sensor to become inoperative.

    The company, which is controlled by Fiat S.p.A., said it is not aware of any complaints, injuries or property damage related to this issue.

    Chrysler said the campaign is different from a recall because should problems occur, the vehicles would still meet crash standards outlined by U.S. safety regulators.

    “If the front crash sensors become inoperative, the driver is immediately alerted by illumination of the airbag warning light,” Chrysler said in a document sent last week to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to notify the agency of its decision.

    “Until the vehicle is repaired, the airbags may not provide the enhanced protection in the event of a crash,” Chrysler said.

    The voluntary safety action comes at a time when Toyota Motor Corp. faces heightened scrutiny over its handling of a series of safety problems that rocked its reputation and results.

    Inside Automotive Education – Preparing Yourself for Transmission Repair

    Not sure what the transmission diagnostic mechanic will tell you? Are you wondering if he is telling the truth? This article is intended to briefly make the reader aware of the average transmission shop. Read More.

    1. “Look at all of this metal in the pan.” What a way to sell a transmission, buyer beware! Notice when they show you the pan there is a magnet in the bottom, well this is suppose to keep the metal in the pan and out of the fluid. Some metal shavings is normal. This is why the manufacturer installed the magnet, to prevent the shavings from circulating through the transmission. Transmissions that need to be overhauled will have an outrageous amount of metal shavings and the fluid will be black.

    2. “The fluid is discolored or burnt.” Now this should be easy to distinguish, look at the fluid yourself.

    A. Light Pink = Fluid is Good
    B. Pinkish Brown = Service Soon
    C. Light Brown = Service Immediately
    D. Black = Fluid is Burnt

    Take some of your transmission fluid and put it on a piece of white paper or card to tell the color. The service shop will do this for you remember the three colors light pink, light brown and black.

    3. “Too may miles, your transmission needs to be overhauled.” This may be the case. Only you and your transmissions know where they have been. The fluid and overall performance is a great hint. Also if you tow or drive like a race car driver you may need a rebuild, beware of who is providing the work and make sure to get a second opinion if not sure.

    In conclusion this article was intended for automotive education. All of the readers involved should gain insight on certain transmission shops and the way the sell their products. Please remember these guidelines when consulting an auto repair mechanic.