Wagon sales

Augusto Amorim, Senior Manager, Americas Vehicle Sales Forecasts

13 December 2019

Declining wagon sales still attract at least one OEM

Before you keep reading, be aware: I drive a station wagon. To me, wagons offer more space than sedans and drive better than SUVs. I also think that they look much nicer than most Light Vehicles out there.

However, I am mostly alone. Wagon sales in the US have free fallen. Only 36,029 units were sold last year, down from 63,804 units in 2012. That is a significant 43.5% decline. Many would argue that MPVs killed wagons back in the day, but they are also down. MPVs fell from 580,805 units in 2012 to 466,319 units last year, a 19.7% drop. Yes, all those consumers went to SUVs. In the same timeframe, they soared by 83.8% to over 8 million units.

My personal taste does not interfere in my forecast. I foresee wagons falling to just 11,000 units in the early 2020s, when I expect that consumers will buy 2.8mn sedans. Much of the demise will come from the OEMs themselves. BMW stopped selling the 3 Series wagon this year, and Buick is likely to quit importing the Regal TourX in 2022.

So why did I think it was a good idea to write about wagons if they are likely to account for just 0.2% of US sales this year? During the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, Volkswagen introduced the ID Space Vizzion and I was blown away by the attention it got. Along with the Ford Mustang Mach-E and BMW 2 Series, there were photographers flocking to it constantly during the press days. Nobody seemed to pay much attention to the concept that indicates what the next generation of the Hyundai Tucson will look like.

Volkswagen announced that sales will start in 2022 – we believe it will be called ID 5. The forecast is that only 20% of sales will be of the wagon, while my colleagues in Europe estimate that it will account for almost all sales of the ID 5 in Germany. What will limit the ID 5 is not only the body style, but that it will be electric. And Volkswagen may have some trouble finding consumers for an electric wagon on this side of the Atlantic.

However, the German group is also bumping up its wagon offering under its Premium brands. At the same Los Angeles show, Audi showed the RS6. It looks stunning – and it is fast. Its V8 turbo engine delivers 591 hp and makes the wagon reach 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds. Audi has also confirmed that it will import the A6 allroad quattro. And we expect the Porsche Taycan to have a wagon version in 2021.

Sadly for a wagon enthusiast like me these products will not translate into higher sales, but the forecaster in me says that VW Group will likely have a 60% share of the segment.