All-wheel drive (AWD) is gaining traction in North America. Ford expects sales of AWD vehicles to exceed 500,000 annually by 2007, with 400,000 of those being car or crossover vehicles. Ford launched the AWD Ford Five Hundred, the Ford Freestyle and the Mercury Montego in 2004. Earlier this year, the company announced that the 2007 Fusion, along with the Mercury Milan and the Lincoln MKZ, will offer AWD as an option this fall. “It’s definitely going to broaden the appeal,” says Daniel Geist, Fusion Marketing manager. “Customers are looking for AWD technology, and it’s something that nobody else offers in the midsize sedan segment. It will be a tremendous value and should spike demand.” Geist says about 40 percent of Fusion’s sales are conquest, several percentage points above what Ford initially expected. He anticipates the AWD option pushing that even further north, near 50 percent. “People will consider a Fusion with all-wheel-drive that probably wouldn’t have considered it before,” says Geist. “While they may not need the space offered by an SUV, they’re still looking for the confidence that all-wheel drive delivers.” Unlike the four-wheel-drive systems found on many trucks and SUVs, Fusion’s all-wheel-drive system has been tuned with an emphasis toward performance while still offering confident, all-weather driving. By constantly monitoring and predicting traction, the system seamlessly delivers torque to all four wheels, even before wheel slippage occurs. An active, on-demand coupler can deliver the precise amount of torque to the rear wheels up to 100 percent. The AWD Fusion will be in Ford showrooms in mid-October.
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