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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Oct 7: Station wagon?

Who's to blame? No, that's not fair, as this is a good idea. I should have said, who started this mini trend? This question will be something that car oriented (obsessed?) Canadians can discuss this weekend, as they pass around the their turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. Yes, this is worthy of a deep discussion. For the sake of today's blog, let just say that Volvo was the first with this idea, but it may have been Subaru. The idea?

Get it? Ok, you don't, so take a closer look at this Volvo Cross Country. They took a normal all wheel drive station wagon, raised it a touch, put on dark coloured wheel well surrounds and voila', they created an suv of sorts.

Station wagon. Just about every car person in North America knows, that to call a car a station wagon is to condemn it to an early and quick sales death. Once the mainstay of the suburbs, these very useful vehicles were slain by the onslaught of minivans, suv's and crossovers (at least in North America). As I've said before, the only people who buy station wagons are those who are economically challenged (Golf buyers) or those who aren't economically challenged (Mercedes buyers). There might be a couple of others thrown into the mix, but they are hardly worth mentioning.

Subaru also went this route, I believe around the same time. They took a, "We can't sell it here.", Legacy wagon.........

......and with a few cosmetics........

.........turned it into their best selling Outback. A great vehicle. Station wagon handling and usefulness, but with the macho crossover/suv vibe, it has become a "station wagon" sales success. But remember, it's just a gussied up Legacy wagon. Gee, I hope by saying this, I haven't condemned it to sales purgatory.

So, Volvo and Subaru saw the wisdom of making their station wagon an suv by the simplest of changes. And it worked. So all the other manufacturers followed suit. Well no, but please keep reading.

Audi sold a few wagons over here, but going the Volvo route, they created the Allroad.......

No, it hasn't set the world on fire this side of the Atlantic, but something is brewing. Audi's less costly family relation, the Golf, has followed the Allroad idea with their new for 2017 Golf Alltrack........

Same changes and theory, make this neat little wagon a semi suv. What I can't figure out is that since the Golf wagon (Sportwagen, sorry) sells quite well, why other manufacturers don't bring something over from Europe to compete with it? Go figure. By the way, this model tops out at exactly a $40k Canadian list price. For a Golf! Lest you think they are profiteering from a good idea, the regular top line Golf wagon comes in at $38.5k. Remember when Golf meant economical?

While one might expect VW to follow a family idea, look who else is picking up on this mini trend(?)......

Yep, Mercedes with the upcoming E Class All Terrain. Yes sir, those sensible, wealthy Benz wagon buyers can now also get the look of an suv. Why is it that only the wealthy have seen how good a wagon can be? Heck, Mercedes even sells an AMG performance version, for those dads who are late (on purpose, obviously) getting their kids to soccer practice.

So has Mercedes sensed that something is in the wind? Do they finally realize that Subaru and Volvo are on to something? Or, are they simply trying their best to be in every single niche market? Maybe the latter, as they will be introducing a pick-up truck in the very near future (and yes, I understand, a pick-up is not a niche market).

Will be ever see the station wagon in some form or other come back to the popularity it once had? Maybe go old school like this new Metris van.......

Or heaven forbid this ever so elegantly modified old Mercedes wagon from years ago? Probably not, but if a few fender flares are all it takes for the sensible and practical station wagon to regain its market share, then I'm all for it.

Until next time......

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