All-wheel drive will soon be offered to enhance the appeal of the Lincoln and Cadillac luxury brands. Since consumers believe that it boosts performance and safety, they’re willing to pay higher and they even don’t mind that it offers lower fuel economy. Approximately 50% of the CTS models that Cadillac sells have AWD.
Jim Vurpillat, Cadillac global marketing director, said that all-wheel drive will be seen more in the new models. Traditionally, buyers who were concerned about driving in terrible weather liked all-wheel drive but now, it’s all about advanced technology and overall vehicle sophistication and capability. Vurpillat said that all-wheel drive raises the drivers’ confidence. All of Lincoln’s models offer all-wheel drive.
About a quarter of MKZ sedans sold have AWD and almost three-quarters of MKT crossover wagons get the option. Lincoln director of product development Scott Tobin said that AWD is a “core part” of their offering. He said that people know that it handles better in bad weather and on normal days, it gives a better performance. Paul Lacy of consultant IHS Automotive said that by 2015, about 30% of vehicles sold in the U.S. will have AWD.
Lacy said that the trend is boosted by the increase in all-wheel drive cars and crossovers. The luxury segment is where some of the growth in all-wheel drive will be as the price and fuel consumption aren’t much of an issue.
But mainstream cars such as the Ford Fusion and Chrysler 300, even Subarus, increasingly offer AWD. Mircea Gradu, Chrysler director of transmission and driveline engineering, said that all-wheel drive improves traction for all-weather capability and leads to improved stability, cornering and control at high speeds.