The Disappearance of the Wagon: Why Auto Service Writers Won’t Often Encounter This Particular Vehicle Type
There are so many different types of cars available on the market today, from minivans and pickup trucks to sports cars and SUVS. As a future auto service writer, you’ll encounter many different types of cars as they roll into your shop in need of some sort of servicing. However, you may notice that station wagons are becoming increasingly sparse in number, and there’s a reason for this trend.
Are you curious to learn why you may not see many station wagons throughout your career? Read on to discover four factors contributing to the demise of the once wildly popular wagon.
Wagons Suffered an Appearance Crisis That Lingers in the Mind of Today’s Car Buyers
When you picture a station wagon, what do you imagine? Questionable shades of beige, green, and tan? The body of the car wrapped in thick panels of poorly-stained wood? If so, you’re not alone, and that’s why many car buyers make sure to steer clear of wagons. Even though today’s wagons look nothing like the wagons manufactured in the last quarter of the 1900s, most millennial car buyers just can’t seem to let go of the idea that wagons are not very visually appealing. They remember wagons as their parent’s embarrassing family car, and as a result ignore the many beautifully designed wagons on the market today.
Many Car Buyers Believe Wagons Are Difficult to Park
Part of what made station wagons the ideal family vehicle for decades now contributes to their demise today. Station wagons are known for their long boat-like bodies and ample cargo room. While this came in handy for families who wanted to fit their children, pets, and luggage in with room to spare, today’s car buyers are more used to the drivability of compact vehicles, which are much easier to maneuver into tight parking spots. For that reason, many are opting away from the station wagon.
Auto Service Writers May Notice the Rise in Popularity of Small SUVs and Crossovers
Any professional with training in automotive industry practices is likely to be aware of the incredible popularity of SUVs and crossovers. You could even argue that these types of vehicles have stepped in and taken the place of the traditional wagon. In fact, right around when the popularity of SUVs started growing, wagons started their downward spiral. Is this merely a coincidence, or is there more to the trend?
Interestingly enough, brands started making very minor changes to their wagons to repurpose them into SUVs or crossovers to meet the growing demand for these vehicle types. Take Subaru, for example. Subaru is still one of the few brands that offers vehicles considered to be wagons. However, when market demand started to shift, the company made several small changes to its Legacy wagon, making it a bit larger and taller, and began selling it as the Outback. It also began marketing it as a crossover, instead of a wagon, even though it was very similar to its original version. The result? In 2007, not long after it made the switch, Subaru sold 2,140 Legacy wagons and 35,763 Outback crossovers.
Auto Service Writers May Know That Most Wagons on Today’s Market Are Expensive
Another reason why you might see fewer wagons once you become an auto service writer is because many have been priced out of reach for middle-income families. The 2017 Subaru Outback and Volkswagen SportWagen are the exception and the cheapest options, starting at $31,135 and $23,145 respectively. Nevertheless, most car companies that still offer wagons are luxury brands. The BMW 3 Series Touring, for example, starts at $46,350 and the Audi A4 Allroad Quattro will set buyers back a shocking $56,300. With such exorbitant sticker prices, it’s understandable that many car buyers are opting for more affordable options.
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