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Believe It Or Not, 4WD Now Outsells 2WD in the United States

Question time! Care to guess which is the first car with an internal combustion engine that had 4WD from the factory? That would be the 1903 Spyker 60 HP that also featured the first applications of four-wheel braking and a six-cylinder engine. You didn’t expect that from a Dutch automaker that’s now known as Spyker Cars, did you?
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However, four-wheel-drive had to wait four decades until it started to take off into the mainstream. Enter the Second World War and the Willys MB that gave us the Jeep CJ series as well as the Land Rover Series 1 and plenty of other heavyweights such as the J40 series Toyota Land Cruiser. There’s no mistaking the MB had started it all.

Fast-forward to the 1960s, and British company Jensen rolled out the FF. The precursor to all performance cars with four- or all-wheel-drive is often forgotten, but then again, how many people do you expect to remember a limited run of 320 quirky GTs?

It was in the 1980s when passenger cars started to embrace 4WD and AWD like there was no tomorrow. The Audi Quattro comes to mind, and the history lesson is finally over.

Now we’re able to focus on the headline of this story, and it’s true. The majority of 2020 MY vehicles sold in the United States as of April 2020 send the suck-squeeze-bang-blow to all four wheels according to JATO Dynamics North America. "Majority," however, may be an overstatement without the "slight" prefix.

The automotive business intelligence company says that “50.8% of new vehicles sold in the 2020 model year have been equipped with four-wheel drive. If trends hold, four-wheel drive will represent more than 50% of the market for the first time ever.” This means that two-wheel drive in the guise of front- and rear-wheel drive make up 49.2 percent of sales so far, which is an outstanding statistic by all accounts.

Given this information, are you surprised the Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, and all-new Kia “I’m Not An Optima” K5 are available with all-wheel-drive?

 
 
 
 
 

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