March 9, 2004

4WD vehicles take a bigger slice of the market

Westlake Village, California – Production of four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicles in North America is expected to increase 10 percent over the next four years, according to J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Global 4WD-Driveline Market Report released on Monday.

Four-wheel-drive vehicles, which currently account for one-quarter of all new light vehicles produced in North America, are expected to approach 37 percent market penetration by 2008, according to the report. This expected growth is fuelled by systems based on front-wheel drive, which should double from the current 13 percent of the market to 32 percent in 2008, while the market share for systems based on rear-wheel drive is expected to decrease from 87 percent to 68 percent.

The report defines four-wheel drive as the ability to send torque to all four wheels, regardless of whether a vehicle rides on a rear-wheel- or front-wheel-derived platform, or is car-based or truck-based.

“The explosion of the SUV market in North America has naturally led to an increase in interest in four-wheel-drive systems,” said Patrick Nally, senior manager of component forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. “While the SUV and pickup segments will continue to make up the bulk of four-wheel drive-vehicles, we see fairly substantial growth of these systems in the van, crossover and car segments.”

The report notes that approximately 64 percent of all SUVs are equipped with 4WD, followed by pickups (42 percent), vans (4 percent) and cars (3 percent).

While 4WD penetration in North America is expected to increase significantly, 4WD vehicle sales in Japan and Korea are expected to decrease from 29 percent of the market today to 23 percent by 2008.

“The Asian market is not as interested in trucks

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