Ford sales of all-wheel-drive cars in the U.S. up 72 percent since 2009 image

Ford said sales of its AWD vehicles rose 72 percent since 2009, outpacing the industry growth rate of 53 percent.

In 2012, more than 20 percent of the industry’s new car and utility vehicles were sold with AWD systems. Originally introduced on the 2013 Escape, Ford offers it new intelligent AWD system on Edge, Explorer, Flex, Fusion and Taurus, making the brand a leader in the number of AWD vehicle offerings for a non-luxury marque. Based on Polk retail registration data, nearly 37 percent of Ford vehicles that are available with AWD were equipped with the technology in 2012.

“All-wheel drive acceptance continues to grow in the East and Great Lakes regions, as expected, but nationwide AWD sales have grown, particularly in the Pacific Northwest over the past six years,” said Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst.

AWD is the No. 1 purchase consideration for Ford customers looking to buy a small utility vehicle in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states – ahead of well-established factors such as reliability, value for the money and fuel economy.

In total, 20 percent of all retail cars and utilities purchased nationally in 2012 had AWD, according to Polk data. AWD sales were at a five-year high in 2012 in the East, Southeast and Central regions, with considerable growth also seen in the Pacific Northwest over the last six years.