Station Wagons Sell in U.S. Mainly When They're Disguised as SUVs
Ruggedness is the wagon's last saving grace as far as American buyers are concerned.
By Noah Joseph
FEB 25, 2020
Car & Driver
- Wagons given a rugged treatment to make them more like SUVs are vastly outselling traditional-looking wagons in the U.S. market.
- As two examples, the Subaru Outback (pictured at left above) found 181,178 buyers in the U.S. in 2019, whereas the Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon (right) sold an estimated 8000 units.
- Still, brands including Volvo, Audi, and Mercedes make it clear they will continue competing for buyers in the limited wagon market.
We've all heard the common refrain: the station wagon is all but completely dead in America, its place largely taken by crossovers and sport-utility vehicles. And we're not here to tell you otherwise: Jeep, for example, sold more Grand Cherokees alone last year in the United States than all the wagons combined. But if the station wagon does have a future in America, it's to pose as an SUV.
Over the course of 2019, ruggedized wagons outsold "conventional" wagons by a ratio of more than nine to one. Automakers typically differentiate these models by raising their ride height, adding lower-body cladding, and fitting all-wheel drive as standard, all in an effort to increase the wagon's appeal in a market hungry for sport-utes. And in relative terms, at least, it's working.
CONTINUE AT LINK ABOVE