Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Death Of The Station Wagon

In the 1970’s the minivan was actually a station wagon.

It was a longer, flatter, version of the ubiquitous vehicle that now crowds every school parking lot and the edges of every soccer field. Station wagons were every where and every family had one.
Station Wagon

SUVs and Minivans Have Replaced the Station Wagon

It its most recent catalogue of vehicles, listed 115 kinds of SUVs and 92 different varieties of crossover vehicles, but just 31 varieties of station wagon. That’s hardly enough to fill a showroom, assuming they all came from the same manufacturer.

Volvo still makes a popular station wagon. They sold 480 of the Volvo V50 station wagon last year. Of a total 13 million vehicles sold worldwide by everyone, Volvo sold just 450 station wagons.

It is hard to say why the station wagon fell out of favor with consumers. It was once the best vehicle on the road for families. Today it is practically a museum piece. Certainly not a popular vehicle for the masses.

Sure, the reasons for its demise are many and varied. First, the minivan. It was roomier and offered a better view for the driver. They were also different. Different is good when it comes to car buying habits. People like to be seen in something that stands out from their neighbors.

When the station wagon was at the height of its glory everyone had one. Literally everyone. There was a station wagon, at least one, in every driveway. People didn’t want to be seen following their neighbor’s lead. When minivans came along they decided to give them a try. As minivans proved their value in quality, people began buying more.

With station wagons there was much that could be done about the way they looked because they all looked pretty much the same. Minivans offered more originality when it came to design. They could be shaped and carved.

They also benefitted from the fact they were popular when technology started being integrated into every vehicle on the road. So minivans started getting upgrades that made them even more popular.

High Tech Made Minivans More Popular

Not only did they look good they were filled with things that people wanted.

Navigation systems, dvd players, awesome stereos–minivans benefitted from every cool new gadget that came along, while station wagons remained the family cars they were intended to be.

Station wagons also suffered from a lack of innovation under the hood. As Americans became more interested in fuel efficiency, stations wagons remained unchanged. As the years went by minivans were engineered to be more fuel efficient, some getting mileage more in common with small cars than with their station wagon predecessors.

The days of the mighty station wagon are definitely coming to a close. The remaining embers of their once mighty fire of glory are dying out and their numbers are definitely dwindling.