California Autos Examiner

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wagons Ho! No...Not That Way!

The recent "shrinkage" of wagon offerings in the USA market has one MSNBC writer wondering about the death of the wagon in the USA. He's got some good points: the Magnum is leaving (undeservedly so in my opinion), Mazda has pulled its Mazda6 wagon, Mercedes yanked its C-Class wagon, and Subaru dismissed its Legacy wagon leaving the more crossover-like Outback. You can read the article by clicking here.

I'd like to raise a few points. Firstly, let's not forget my dear Jaguar X-Type wagon which will be leaving us shortly. Thanks, I feel better. Okay, now with the rest of my points...While the Magnum is leaving us, GM is going to be bringing a swath of wagons our way: the Pontiac G8 wagon, Saturn will get a Vectra based wagon, and Cadillac will have a CTS wagon. Now I suppose I should add a "*subject to market conditions" proviso, but I think it's safe to say that GM won't pull all those wagons from its USA plans. In addtion to the General, there are offerings from the likes of Volvo, Saab, BMW, Audi, VW, Mazda (Mazda3), Toyota (Matrix) and Mercedes.

Also in the article is the point that because of government regulations, cars cannot have rear tinted windows from the factory. Subaru got around this restriction for its Outbacks by reclassifying them as "trucks" which are allowed rear tint. Mazda's Robert Davis, senior vice president of product development and quality for Mazda North America Operations, is "Completely convinced that if the government let us put privacy glass in [our] wagons they’d sell a lot better than they do now.” I agree that tinted glass on a wagon is sexy, but the Magnum has tinted rear windows and look how well that worked out. I do agree that it is a silly rule, if SUVs / Trucks can do it, why not cars?

When you look at the latest batch of car-based crossovers, they are really nothing more that tall station wagons. So, have wagons really died or have they evolved? Dinosaurs became birds and wagons have become crossovers--the hottest segment in the market.

Well done, family truckster.

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