The richest Americans are jumping SUVs to the trucks


Splendid and bulky SUVs are passing over the auto industry, crushing sedans, compact cars and anything else that does not come close to a 5,000-pound turtle.

And yet, in the midst of the carnage, the serious, bulky pickup truck was unharmed.

In fact, it is increasing speed thanks to a multitude of new models.

US customers dropped 212,000 new cars last year, 29% more than five years earlier, according to new data from

While the wagon is still the narrowest of niche products, this growth rate outstrips some of the industry's most popular machines, as well as the long tail of the sizes and shapes of fast-vanishing vehicles.

"The winner of the car's death is the station wagon," said Karl Brauer, executive editor of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. "You have the car at one end of the spectrum and the SUV of the other; the wagon looks good between these two.

The modest sales increase belies a long-standing narrative in the Detroit and Stuttgart c-suites: Americans do not buy pickup trucks – at least not anymore. There is some truth to this. Even now, the short-stacked family truck driver accounts for less than 2 percent of the US auto market.

But in the mad rush to manufacture and sell SUVs of all shapes and sizes, the sleepy old wagon began to look like a strategic white space. On paper, it's not as different from a sport utility vehicle as it is personally. Relatively, a wagon can carry as much cargo as an SUV, and being closer to the ground, it handles better and is less prone to tip.

These arguments were essentially useless five years ago but today, they make all the difference to the occasional buyer reluctant to be the youngest person on the block to settle for the crossover club.

The automobile manufacturers, realizing the same, ordered some. Volkswagen brought its new Golf SportWagen across the Atlantic in 2015. In the spring of the following year, Volvo launched its V90, a smooth descendant of yuppie tanks that made it famous in the 1980s. A month later, Buick took off the cover of Regal TourX, a version of its mid-size sedan.

And in the summer of 2017, Jaguar attacked with its XF Sportbrake, just a few months before Porsche extended the roof of its Panamera, finally giving affluent drivers an alternative to Audi, BMW and Mercedes wagons.

jaaag2 Richer Americans are jumping SUVs to wagons

The Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine with compressor.

Flyer /


"There's a group of consumers who are very interested in the versatility and capability of an SUV, but they do not want to be seen as someone who just tracks the flow," said Buick's chief marketing officer, Sam Russell.

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

To some extent, the wagon is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, the Americans were chilling in wagons, but sales also fainted because the companies stopped manufacturing them. It's the same feedback loop of confirmation bias that perpetually torments the car business.

Recently, wagon sales have increased in part because there is more to choose from. Like that.


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