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Old 01-07-2019, 07:59 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Richer Americans Are Skipping SUVs for Station Wagons



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Richer Americans Are Skipping SUVs for Station Wagons

(Bloomberg) -- Stately, plump SUVs are running roughshod over the auto industry, crushing sedans, compacts and anything else that doesn’t approximate a 5,000-pound turtle. And yet amid the carnage, the earnest, doughty station wagon has emerged unscathed.

In fact, it’s picking up speed thanks to a crowd of new models. U.S. customers drove off in 212,000 brand spanking new station wagons last year, 29 percent more than they did five years earlier, according to new data from Edmunds.com. While the wagon is still the narrowest of niche products, that growth rate bests some of the industry’s most popular machines, as well as the long tail of vehicle sizes and shapes that are fading fast.

“The winner in the death of the car is the station wagon,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. “You’ve got the car on one end of the spectrum and the SUV on the other; the wagon sits right in between those two.”



The modest sales increase belies a long-held narrative in the c-suites of Detroit and Stuttgart: Americans don’t buy station wagon—at least not anymore. There’s some truth to that: Even now, the low-slung, family trickster accounts for less than 2 percent of the U.S. auto market.

But in the mad scramble to make and sell SUVs of all shapes and sizes, the sleepy old station wagon started to look like strategic white space. On paper, it’s not as dramatically different from a so-called sport utility as it is in person. Relatively, a wagon can haul about as much cargo as an SUV and, being closer to the ground, handles better and is less prone to tip. Those arguments were essentially worthless five years ago, but today, they make all the difference to the occasional shopper reluctant to be the newest person on the block to conform with the crossover club.



Carmakers, realizing as much, ordered up a few. Volkswagen brought its new Golf SportWagen across the Atlantic in 2015. In the spring of the following year, Volvo rolled out its V90, a slick descendant of the boxy, yuppie tanks that made the brand famous in the 1980s. A month later, Buick pulled the cover off of the Regal TourX, a wagonized version of its mid-sized sedan. And in the summer of 2017, Jaguar pounced with its XF Sportbrake, just a few months before Porsche stretched the roofline on its Panamera, finally giving affluent motorists an alternative to wagons from Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

“There’s a group of consumers who are greatly interested in the versatility and capability of an SUV, but they don’t want to be seen as someone who just goes with the flow,” said Buick marketing director Sam Russell.

“They are almost violently opposed to being mainstream,” he said.



To some extent, the wagon train is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sure, Americans cooled on station wagons, but sales also swooned because companies stopped making them. It’s the same feedback loop of confirmation bias that perpetually bedevils the car business. Recently, wagon sales have increased in part because there’s more to choose from. Fancy that.

To be sure, it’s still a modest comeback. The wagon momentum slowed slightly last year as the newness wore off of some machines. Starting this year, BMW will no longer offer a wagon version of its 3-series sedan in the U.S., a vehicle that’s long been a paragon of the product. That will be welcome news to Porsche, Volvo and Jaguar, which just started its Sportbrake experiment.



Buick reckons it’s already conquesting some BMW buyers. Half of the people buying the Regal are opting for the version with the big, boxy back-end. But sales were a bit of an afterthought for Buick’s product planners. The TourX was also a marketing exercise, a way to fight its stigma as a company that only makes long, soft sedans for seniors. It also was a tidy way to give Buick a boost in New England and the Pacific Northwest, two wealthy markets where it has historically underperformed.

“As long as you deliver on the styling, I think there will always be an opportunity for wagons,” Russell said. “It’s something different for consumers who are different.”

Indeed, TourX sales have increased steadily in the 12 months it’s been in dealerships. Critically, those who buy it are on average more affluent than people who opt for the Enclave, the largest and most expensive of Buick’s SUVs.

They’re better educated, too.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:06 AM   #2
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Forward these tidings to the Subaru marketing team >>> wait a week or two >>> Levorg confirmed for USA! CVT only with $35k MSRP to start ..

Quote:
“There’s a group of consumers who are greatly interested in the versatility and capability of an SUV, but they don’t want to be seen as someone who just goes with the flow,” said Buick marketing director Sam Russell.

“They are almost violently opposed to being mainstream,” he said.
Or maybe I just like sporty cars, practicality and fuel efficiency? I should probably tell my doctor that I harbor violent, wagon related thoughts. He'll put me on whatever medication Pre is supposed to be taking.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:21 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by fredzy View Post
Forward these tidings to the Subaru marketing team >>> wait a week or two >>> Levorg confirmed for USA! CVT only with $35k MSRP to start ..



Or maybe I just like sporty cars, practicality and fuel efficiency? I should probably tell my doctor that I harbor violent, wagon related thoughts. He'll put me on whatever medication Pre is supposed to be taking.
More like they'll not bring the Levorg over but over more luxurious trims for the Outback. */killjoy*

If we're going to get a "Levorg", it's just going to be a trim variant on the WRX, and have 6MT and CVT options.

Honestly, buying a sports car for the first time as a father (instead of as a single, unmarried man, like the last time I bought a sports car), I really really see the appeal of a sports hatch/wagon.

Love my WRX sedan, but having a hatch instead of a trunk would make certain things way more convenient.

I wonder if they went sedan only because of how a hatch would change up the suspension changes they wanted to bring, and how much extra work tightening things up for a hatch would be over just for a sedan? I'm an EE in the avionics industry, not a Mechanical or Automotive engineer, so I don't know crap from crackers in terms of suspension geometry or anything.
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:11 AM   #4
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Cars I've looked at recently:

New...
'19 Buick TourX
'19 Volvo V60 RDesign

Used...
Jaguar XF Sportbrake <-- Big depreciation on these for some reason
Volvo V90
Mercedes E63 AMG
Caddy CTSV Wagon (MT = Holy Grrrrrrail of wagons).

*sigh*

--kC
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Relatively, a wagon can haul about as much cargo as an SUV and, being closer to the ground, handles better and is less prone to tip. .
Really? We had no idea!

Quote:
“There’s a group of consumers who are greatly interested in the versatility and capability of an SUV, but they don’t want to be seen as someone who just goes with the flow,” said Buick marketing director Sam Russell.

“They are almost violently opposed to being mainstream,” he said.
In the immortal words of Spicoli "Right here dude."
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:47 AM   #6
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Only thing uglier than a crossover is a wagon.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by arghx7 View Post
Only thing uglier than a crossover is a crossover sedan.
Crossover convertible tops them both tho.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:22 PM   #8
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Sounds like it's time to bring over the Golf R Variant, the RS4 Avant, etc...
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:54 PM   #9
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I mean, you're wrong to think that this is not sexy...



--kC
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:12 PM   #10
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So, an article about wagons gets people talking about Levorg? The most that article talks about "sportiness" is what Pre quoted. They are lower and "handle better and less prone to tip". They didn't mention HP. I know they make "sporty" versions of these cars; but, what's the take rate on those? My point being, if the shift back to wagons is a real thing; Subaru could do that. Easily. Lower the Outback back to a Legacy wagon. Would probably cost less than trying to bring the Levorg .
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:26 PM   #11
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Bloomberg tends to push own agendas so take it with grain of salt. I sure don't see any trend here but what wealthy people do are not my chosen path.
also see what the mere middle class is doing
https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/sho....php?t=2892507

Last edited by Masterauto; 01-07-2019 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirBrass View Post
More like they'll not bring the Levorg over but over more luxurious trims for the Outback. */killjoy*

If we're going to get a "Levorg", it's just going to be a trim variant on the WRX, and have 6MT and CVT options.

Honestly, buying a sports car for the first time as a father (instead of as a single, unmarried man, like the last time I bought a sports car), I really really see the appeal of a sports hatch/wagon.

Love my WRX sedan, but having a hatch instead of a trunk would make certain things way more convenient.
Quote:
A sports car, or sportscar, is a small, two-seater automobile designed for spirited performance and nimble handling.[2][3] The term "sports car" was used in The Times, London in 1919.[4] According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, USA's first known use of the term was in 1928.[2] Sports cars started to become popular during the 1920s.[5]

Sports cars may be spartan or luxurious, but high maneuverability and light weight are requisite.[6] Sports cars are usually aerodynamically shaped (since the 1950s), and have a low center of gravity compared to standard models. Steering and suspension are typically designed for precise control at high speeds.[7] Traditionally sports cars were open roadsters, but closed coupés also started to become popular during the 1930s, and the distinction between a sports car and a grand tourer is not absolute
I swear to god the next time I hear someone call a WRX or STI a friggen sportscar I'm going to lose my **** and kick them square in the nuts.
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustyWRC View Post
So, an article about wagons gets people talking about Levorg? The most that article talks about "sportiness" is what Pre quoted. They are lower and "handle better and less prone to tip". They didn't mention HP. I know they make "sporty" versions of these cars; but, what's the take rate on those? My point being, if the shift back to wagons is a real thing; Subaru could do that. Easily. Lower the Outback back to a Legacy wagon. Would probably cost less than trying to bring the Levorg .
No they would not. SOA is done making Legacy wagons. Even when the Tribeca was deemed a complete failure, they still went ahead and stopped production of the US market Legacy wagon. As we’ve seen with the Levorg, Subaru has no place for a wagon anywhere in their lineup. A RWD non turbo sports car is a better Subaru than a filthy wagon to remind them of their troubled past. Ick. No way.
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Doobie Scoo View Post
I swear to god the next time I hear someone call a WRX or STI a friggen sportscar I'm going to lose my **** and kick them square in the nuts.
WRX/STI is a sportscar
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:18 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Masterauto View Post
Bloomberg tends to push own agendas so take it with grain of salt. I sure don't see any trend here but what wealthy people do are not my chosen path.
also see what the mere middle class is doing
https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/sho....php?t=2892507
Buyers of the Mercedes E Class wagon have the highest Household income of Mercedes buyers according to...Mercedes.

If the vast glut of CUV/SUV everything brings about more wagons then I will happily cheer on the Crossover.

The problem for me and probably many on here is we want something that looks a good as a V60/V90 or XF wagon that performs as good as an XF Wagon but at half the cost an 3x the reliability.

They don't make a Chevy SS wagon, Kia Stinger wagon, Subaru STI wagon, Golf R wagon or Mazda 6 wagon for the U.S. A Genesis G70 wagon would be freaking awesome.

The closest we get is the Buick Tour X and I didn't feel it was all that compelling to drive or well appointed for the $$.
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:47 PM   #16
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Hell yeah!

I'm rich, *****!

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Old 01-07-2019, 05:03 PM   #17
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Hell yeah!

I'm rich, *****!

Slap an RA badge on it and you’re doubly rich, *****!
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:33 PM   #18
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I was ahead of my time...
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:40 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by thill View Post
WRX/STI is a sportscar
I wanted a sports car but the 911 was a little impractical, so I got a Civic Sport. Love my new sports car!
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:42 PM   #20
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Now that the 2019 Golf Alltrack has a 6MT on the SEL (the only model who's seats don't suck), I'm really interested. I need a fair amount of trunk space so a sedan or short-trunk hatchback (GTI/Impreza) aren't going to cut it.
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:08 PM   #21
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Buyers of the Mercedes E Class wagon have the highest Household income of Mercedes buyers according to...Mercedes.
That's because it's bought for the nanny to use.

Some fun related facts:

Luxury consumers (not just cars) are overextending themselves

E Class Wagon purchasers have a household income of about $375k as opposed to just $200k for the sedan. Poseurs.

Meanwhile the Lexus equivalent for these households is the LX 570, whose buyers pull in "over $380k" per year.
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:57 PM   #22
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OMGHi2U

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected]
I was ahead of my time...

Dude, you sold your E-class wagon of fury.


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Old 01-07-2019, 10:57 PM   #23
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I’ve never understood the wagon thing. I think they are ugly and a wagon just seems kind of like a jack of all trades, master of none.

I own multiple vehicles and each is good for its intended purpose. A wagon isn’t one of them.

To each their own though.
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:46 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by VaporTrail308 View Post
I’ve never understood the wagon thing. I think they are ugly and a wagon just seems kind of like a jack of all trades, master of none.


That’s kind of the point. It’s great at everything but not the master of anything.
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:55 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by VaporTrail308 View Post
I’ve never understood the wagon thing.
Quote:
a wagon just seems kind of like a jack of all trades
Yes. It seems you do understand wagons. Not everyone can, or even wants to maintain a fleet of different vehicles to meet all of their needs. A fast wagon does a lot.

I don’t understand how people see SUV’s as better looking than wagons. I guess SUV’s are supposed to look like SUV’s, so they’re ok? Bigger and more bloated is better? But a wagon is supposed to look like a sedan, so looking like a sleeker, more sporting version of an SUV is not cutting it?
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