Ford Motor Co., surprised by the popularity of the AWD versions of its Ford Five Hundred, Freestyle, and the Mercury Montego, forecasts sales of such equipped vehicles from automakers to reach 500,000 a year with eighty percent to be crossover vehicles (SUV or CUV). The company has plans to jump on the opportunity.

"When Ford introduced the new AWD vehicles," says Robert Parker, car marketing manager for the Blue Oval, "demand outstripped supply during the initial launch. Customers saw that AWD really provided the best value for the dollar. Based on our experience with those cars, Ford has set about bringing the technology to a wider range of vehicles and expanding the consumers' choices."

The company will be releasing AWD versions of its Fusion/Milan/MKZ (formerly Zephyr) mid-sized sedans by 2007. Ford's foreign subsidiary Volvo offers AWD in most of its lineup while Mazda's Mazdaspeed6 comes standard in AWD. The feature will also be available on the company's upcoming lineup of CUVs.

[Source: Ford]