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AWD mix continues to climb

14 February 2011 Tom Libby

GraphAll-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles continue to gain popularity in the U.S., and it's not just because of the recent string of snow storms. In every month of 2010 from February through November (the latest month for which registration data are available), the AWD/4WD mix was higher than in the same month in either 2008 or 2009. In both October and November of 2010, more than one of every three new vehicles registered to individual customers was equipped with AWD or 4WD, and in November the AWD penetration rate reached a five-year (any month) high of 36.2%.

At the make level, every ongoing make except four enjoyed an increase in AWD/4WD penetration in the September - November 2010 time period when compared to the same time period in the prior year. And the five largest makes based on retail registrations (Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chevrolet and Nissan) all experienced increased AWD/4WD take rates, led by Nissan (up 25%) and Toyota (17%). Lastly, in the 11 months of 2010 for which registration data are available, the two makes with the highest AWD mix among all those that offer both cars and light trucks, Subaru and Audi, have substantially out-performed the industry, with retail registrations up 21% and 20%, respectively, versus the industry gain of 7%.

Posted by Tom Libby, PolkInsight Advisor, Polk (02.15.2011)

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