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Four-wheel-drive popularity to soar in C- and B-segment, Frost and Sullivan reveals

Growing demand for ‘B’ and ‘C’ segment crossover vehicles is set to almost double in the next seven years, industry analysts claim.

Frost and Sullivan’s Strategic Analysis of OEM Strategies for All Wheel Drive Systems in Europe has discovered that the market, which was worth €3.83 billion (£2.70 billion) in 2014, is expected to touch €5.91 billion (£4.17 billion) in 2021.

The VW Group, propelled by its 4Motion and Quattro models, is expected to outpace competition from BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the premium segment.

In Europe, Russians have the highest affinity towards AWD technologies, Frost and Sullivan’s insight suggests, with 8.9 percent of customers willing to spend more than €3,000 (£2,116) on full-time 4WD systems, which is much higher than the sum most German, British and French drivers are willing to spend.

The number of vehicles with AWD technology in the ‘B’ and ‘C’ segments is expected to double to more than two million units by 2021.

Frost and Sullivan found that numbers will increase as improvements are made to vehicles’ dynamic repertoire and efficiency.

Automotive and transportation senior research analyst, Viroop Narla said: “The majority of AWD vehicles have electronically controlled systems such as automatic AWD that provides the optimum balance between fuel consumption and performance.

“The considerable progress made by OEMs in the fully electronic AWD segment is expected to further reduce fuel consumption.”

Engine downsizing and driveline disconnect technology have both brought better fuel efficiency to AWD systems.

Electric AWD (eAWD) also has the potential to improve fuel economy by 30 percent and support OEMs to comply with increasingly stringent emission regulations.

Frost and Sullivan’s automotive and transportation senior research analyst, Kamalesh Mohanarangam, said: “Advancements in disconnect AWD systems and the future development of eAWD technologies will prompt increased cooperation between OEMs and suppliers.

“The consolidation trend among suppliers is likely to limit innovation and ultimately, compel OEMs to develop systems in-house; the Peugeot 3008 eAWD system being a case in point.”

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