Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

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Thread: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

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    GMI Staff Member Premium Member Ming's Avatar
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    Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    Just a little fun I was having over at my blog - don't take it too seriously.

    Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt more profitable SUV & Crossover Sales...so kill the Wagon!



    (Cue X-Files Music)

    Is there a conspiracy to eliminate the affordable Station Wagon from the U.S. market, or is it just a market trend? Soon the Ford Focus Wagon is set to disappear, as well as the Malibu Maxx. The traditional Station Wagon is an endangered species. Aside from the Dodge Magnum and the wagons in some Luxury brands, the wagon is on the decline, and the inexpensive sedan-based 4-cylinder station wagon is nearly extinct.

    Looking at the lack of standard sedan-based wagons like the Suzuki Forenza in the U.S. market I've come to a wacky conclusion. It's not that they're so horribly unpopular. It's about automotive executives who've decided not to invest in building and selling (or advertising) attractive wagons because for each wagon sold they lose a more profitable SUV or Crossover sale.

    Wagons generally sell for only $1000 more than the sedans they are based on, while a crossover or "cute-ute" can cost several thousand more. But despite the jacked up stance, is a 2WD Mitsubishi Outlander, for instance, really all that more off-road capable than a wagon version of a similarly sized Mitsubishi car? I think not.

    And what of the comparitive cost of developing all-new sheetmetal and a new interior for a crossover as opposed to designing a wagon rear end and grafting it onto a sedan? Surely the R&D costs for the Cute Ute far exceed the cost of making a wagon version of your existing sedan.

    So the conclusion I am drawn to is that Wagons in the end must not be as profitable an addition to an automaker's line up as a crossover car-based SUV, XUV, CUV or whatever.

    Instead, automakers will make more money by herding us into vehicles with similar utility, that cost more since they look rugged and sit up an inch or two higher than a traditional wagon. If fuel economy and ride quality suffer a bit? Don't feel bad, because now you're driving a "tough" Crossover SUV!

    The Dodge Magnum breaks the mold because it is a macho-looking RWD Hemi-powered monster of a wagon (in its highest trim level). But the lowly inexpensive wagon is left in the dustbin of history as Crossover SUV's take over.

    One ray of hope - again from DaimlerChrysler: The Jeep Patriot and Compass. While neither is a true "wagon" in the traditional sense of the word, the Patriot at least is a 4-cylinder powered vehicle with wagon like utility, and in 2WD is very fuel efficient and not so expensive.

    And the Chevrolet HHR, while classified as a Truck, is really a kind of Cobalt Wagon in disguise.

    But my question remains: Is offering inexpensive wagon variants of existing sedans something that automotive executives - the gray hairs at the top - frown upon since for every wagon sold, you've lost a potential SUV sale? I think it certainly is a factor, if not the wide conspiracy I've made it to be.

    http://mingsplace.blogspot.com/2007/...gons-hurt.html
    Last edited by Ming; 01-16-2007 at 10:10 PM.

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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    Too late, I ordered my 3-seat Country Squire 390 today. Bwaaahhaaahaaaa!

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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ming
    (Cue X-Files Music)
    here ya go
    &
    < click for bigger
    "One useless man is called a disgrace, two become a law firm, and three or more become a Congress."
    1776

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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    I think it's sad that the wagon gets such a bad rap after all of the families with wagons up into even the early '90s. The SUV has gone mainstream and everyone stepped aboard. Now SUVs are evolving into CUVs to become more like cars while the classic wagon which is a car in the first place is dead. It's all about image and the fact that everyone cares what everyone else thinks about their choice of car and wagons carry the same stigma as minivans. GM gave up on the wagon in the mid '90s and now they are giving up on the minivan. Toyota, Honda and Nissan gave up wagons in the '90s as well in the US, but wagons are still sold throughout the rest of the world by all manufacterers, so it's obviously an American thing.
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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    Wagons are cool. The fact that the general population thinks wagons are uncool makes wagons that much more cooler.

    You have no idea how hard I tried to look for a black stick-shift Focus wagon before I bought my Focus ZX4. I wish I looked harder.

    Delete the roof rails and add some sporty suspensions, performance brakes, and some Subaru-gold rims... aw yeah.


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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    I personally wanted a wagon went I went car shopping. I need to haul quite a bit around in my daily life. But, its really hard to find a quality wagon so I bought a big sedan. Not quite the same The only used wagons I could find were saturns or subaru and all the ones I could find were beaten on by people my age. Problem is in the US we don't get stylish or cool wagons like Europe and the rest of the world. We get abominations for the most apart. Seems like executives here think that because its a wagon it doesn't need style. Which is sad because I would jump to buy a quality and stylish compact wagon i've already got 2,000 saved for a down payment on a car. The HHR is a nice vehicle, but the small windows and odd styling really do keep it from reaching its potential. I think the Astra could be the next really nice wagon in fact if I had more time on my hands I'd do a photoshop but sadly I don't. As gas prices rise there is hope for the return of the tradition wagon. Lets hope GM puts the delta platform to better work in the near future.

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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    Quote Originally Posted by MichiganBuick
    I personally wanted a wagon went I went car shopping. I need to haul quite a bit around in my daily life. But, its really hard to find a quality wagon so I bought a big sedan. Not quite the same The only used wagons I could find were saturns or subaru and all the ones I could find were beaten on by people my age. Problem is in the US we don't get stylish or cool wagons like Europe and the rest of the world. We get abominations for the most apart. Seems like executives here think that because its a wagon it doesn't need style. Which is sad because I would jump to buy a quality and stylish compact wagon i've already got 2,000 saved for a down payment on a car. The HHR is a nice vehicle, but the small windows and odd styling really do keep it from reaching its potential. I think the Astra could be the next really nice wagon in fact if I had more time on my hands I'd do a photoshop but sadly I don't. As gas prices rise there is hope for the return of the tradition wagon. Lets hope GM puts the delta platform to better work in the near future.
    You forgot about the Mazda6 Wagon... didn't you?


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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    Thats a nice looking wagon... BUT, this is the midwest and mazda is an import brand. Not only that it snows an awfull lot around here and imports carry a perception of poor handling around here (Minus subaru its about the only import brand I see on a daily basis). Some of its earned and some of its just by assosiation. Finding a used mazda here is like finding a needle in a haystack. The nearest import dealer is 50 miles and thats ford, subaru, and suzuki. Otherwise its 90 miles to get to a toyota dealer. This is obviously the domestics stronghold around here, but i'm seeing a more diverse group of cars than when I moved here 4 years ago ... The outback wagon and tocoma are really showing themselves. But, you could barly tell mazda exists around here.

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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    Quote Originally Posted by genjy
    You forgot about the Mazda6 Wagon... didn't you?

    It would be cool if they gave the wagon the MazdaSpeed treatment.
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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    No need to photoshop:



    IMO they really need the 2.2 rather than the wheezy 1.8 which has no torque. Even the diesel would be good. It has torque up the you know what.
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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    As for the focus on SUVs, i agree totally. In Wheels Magazine recently, they did a mega test using their W.A.S.P (wheels active safety program) criteria to compare the best sellers. The fuel consumption of each vehicle was in a similar region of my 3.6 HFV wagon. I can see the point of minivans in their flexibility over a wagon, but no-one was buying them. Wagons too have suffered at the hands of perception. I agree that because mainstream people dont think they're cool, they are actually cool, but unfortunately that doesn't make a sound business case.

    Another supporting example of perception of capability is the Hyundai Tuscon city. FWD 2L. What a piece of garbage!
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    GMI Australia Correspondent Premium Member mikmak's Avatar
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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    Gratuitous opportunity to post my wagon:


    Incidentally, Holden has 3 wagons and one SUV. Viva (Forenza), Astra (pictured earlier) and Commodore (obviously). It will be interesting to see how Holden approaches the wagon formula with the VE. Obviously I would prefer a LWB platform, but it sounds like a SWB Sportswagon is on the way (at least it would be lighter than LWB).
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    GMI Australia Correspondent Premium Member mikmak's Avatar
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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    Oh, the SUV is the Captiva.
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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    I tried to find a PZEV Focus wagon with stick, to no avail. I love small, cheap wagons, but I love my stickshift, too. Hard combo to find.

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    GMI Australia Correspondent Premium Member mikmak's Avatar
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    Re: Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Wagons hurt SUV & Crossover Sales...So Kill 'Em!

    Isn't there some cliche about only appreciating something when its gone? Was there any lauding or appreciation going on before the wagons started to die out?
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