If you didn't know all-wheel drive was an available option for the Dodge Avenger, Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Caliber, you're not alone. Only 1.5% of Avenger buyers checked the AWD option box, and the Sebring take rate was an abysmal .7%. The Caliber fared only slightly better at 4.4% for the 2008 model, but that's not nearly enough to keep Chrysler from canceling the option for the 2009 model year. AWD was fast becoming a mainstream option when those models were being developed, but the ability to move all four wheels at once drives down fuel economy. The MSRP goes up, too, and Chrysler and Dodge dealers are having enough trouble selling less expensive base models, much less a $35,000 Sebring with AWD.

While Chrysler may be struggling to sell AWD as an option on its cars, Ford is reporting take rates of up to 20% for the option on the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan. The Blue Oval says AWD is popular in northern climes, and it probably helps that the automaker actually advertises its midsize offerings' AWD capability. Chrysler is quick to point out that its Borg Warner-sourced AWD system isn't the problem, though, as it's also available on the Dodge Journey, which has a 20% take rate for AWD.

[Source: Wards Automotive]


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