Ford SUV Buyers Overwhelmingly Demand One Key Feature

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It makes sense given the time of year.

Ford's truck and SUV programs are clearly on a roll. Demand for the F-150 Lightning, Bronco, Bronco Sport, and Maverick is very high and the F-150 ICE lineup is more popular than ever; the Blue Oval just celebrated the 4-millionth example coming off the assembly line. And because we're in the dead of winter right now, Ford says it's seeing a record percentage of new SUVs being sold with 4x4/AWD.

According to the automaker's just-released January 2022 sales report, some 76.7 percent of these customers equipped their SUVs with one of these drive systems. That's an increase of 20.7 percent over January 2021, further resulting in transaction prices going up by an average of $8,200 in the space of just 12 months. The average Ford SUV buyer is spending $43,300.

2021-2022 Ford Bronco Sport Front Angle View Ford
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2021-2022 Ford Bronco Sport Instrument Board Ford

All told last month, Ford sold 60,382 SUVs, including the Bronco, Bronco Sport, and Mustang Mach-E. That's a 12 percent boost over last year. The Escape, which shares the C2 platform with the Bronco Sport and Maverick, saw a 17.2 percent sales gain over a year ago. Ford didn't provide an AWD vs. FWD breakdown for Escape sales. The fact that 4x4/AWD demand went up shouldn't be too surprising. After all, it was January and winter is far from over.

Interestingly, both the Explorer and Expedition saw sales drops last month by 10.2 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively. Less surprising is the soon-to-be discontinued Eco Sport's declining popularity. It suffered a 49 percent sales dip compared to January 2021.

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On the truck side of things, the F-Series and Ranger also experienced slight sales decreases but nothing staggering. The reason has nothing to do with a lack of popularity but rather supplier-related issues. Demand remains high, especially for the F-150, but the semiconductor chip shortage has yet to be resolved.

As for the all-new Maverick, in January alone 6,513 units left dealership lots. It's only available (for now) with AWD when you opt for the 2.0-liter EcoBoost but this clearly hasn't hindered buyers. Ford confirmed late last month it has stopped accepting 2022 model year orders for both the hybrid and EcoBoost. This won't begin again until this summer for the 2023 models.

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