Station wagons regaining consumer favor?

By Automotive Staff | December 06, 2007
The station wagon is arguably the most useful of all automobiles. As a car, it can deliver the driving experience that cannot be matched by a lumbering SUV, but its shape allows for all the carrying capacity, utility, and space that one could ever need. There’s only one drawback unfortunately to the wagon. It is its name. Consumers simply can't (won't?) deal with what many consider is part of their grandparents' geneartion. This fact has not been lost on the auto manufacturers, either. MINI’s new Clubman, for example, will skirt around the issue with a marketing campaign that heralds it as nothing more that “It’s the other MINI.” Subaru, with its acclaimed Legacy and Impreza wagons, refuses to use the wagon terminology as well, referring to them as 5-doors and hatchbacks instead. Even Volvo, famous for its wagons (especially the brown land tanks so favored by adolescents and college students), has steered clear from sawing the “W” word. Instead, the automaker focused on the cars abilities and portray them as “lifestyle vehicles.” Only VW seems to feel that a wagon should be called a wagon. Even it, however, won’t risk calling them station wagons; instead they prefer to label their wagons "SportWagons." Same with Mazda and its now discontinued Mazda6 sportwagon (small "W"). Time will tell if any of this actually matters. As it is, wagons have had a hard time in the American marketplace. Even the in-your-face Dodge Magnum, the ultimate expression of the cool man’s wagon, couldn’t make it here. Our Take? Station wagons are cool; we just don’t know it yet. via BrandWeek