U.S: Record snow brings record AWD vehicles sales – report image

Record low temperatures and record snow days – close to the infamous season of 1978-1979, which holds the record for most snowfall at 89 inches –  made more and more buyers to get a car that is awd.

According to data from R.L. Polk & Co., sales of awd (all-wheel drive) vehicles have rose 79 percent since 2009 when only one in five vehicles was awd; now one in four vehicles sold in the U.S. is equipped with all-wheel drive.

“This past winter will have only inspired people to be aware of whether they have or don’t have all-wheel drive,” said Karl Brauer, analyst at Kelley Blue Book.

Subaru, the Japanese automaker that sells only awd vehicles (aside from the BRZ model that is rwd only) is announcing record sales – and not only for this year, but also for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. February sales rose 24 percent to 34,909 vehicles when overall auto sales were flat. Forester sales nearly doubled and the automaker says about 60 percent of buyers are new to the brand.

Ford also offers all-wheel drive vehicles and the company says its awd equipped cars and crossovers are up 189 percent from 2009 and 2013 – led by the Escape models and full size Explorer.

Overall, automakers have succeeded to reduce the production costs, which make awd models more affordable compared to vehicles of the past. In addition the systems for the awd drivetrain which add weight to cars have been redesigned.