Honda Accord Wagon? Sorry, Not in the US

C’mon, you know the reason why…

By Brendan Moore

07.09.2009

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Because the US market is ah, special, auto manufacturers that sell cars in the US often don’t sell some of their models in America (and therefore all of North America) that are popular elsewhere.

So some good small cars like the VW Polo, many cars with diesel engines that get great fuel economy but cannot pass emissions in the US, and occasionally, some performance cars that are made in such limited numbers that it’s not worth getting the vehicles certified (crash-testing, emissions, etc.) are absent from our shores.

And, in the last few years, wagons. Yes, there are some wagons sold by foreign manufacturers in the US. And, there are certainly other station wagons sold by manufacturers (foreign and domestic) that are missing in action in the US market. The Honda Accord, the subject of this piece, is one.

The reason is no secret; most Americans have become allergic to the station wagon model. The ones that are sold here are sold in small numbers as Americans prefer an SUV or a CUV (crossover utility vehicle), both of which are larger than the typical wagon, but generally unable to match either the cargo capacity or fuel economy of same. But, the SUV and the crossover both look more far more rugged than a station wagon, so there you are.

None of the domestic manufacturers except Cadillac sell a station wagon model any longer, and Cadillac just brought theirs out a few months ago – their first wagon ever, and produced to bolster their fortunes in, of course, Europe. Sales in the US were never expected to ring up big numbers. It is safe to say all the wagons, no matter where they come from,  that are sold here in the US are niche products in the lineup of their respective manufacturer. Their sales numbers are shrinking as their American customers are also finding their way to crossovers, usually provided by the same brand the wagon came from.

But there is an alternate reality in Europe. Wagons, or Combis, or Estates or Tourers, still sell in Europe.

Hence, the new 2009 Honda Accord Wagon. It goes on sale this summer in Europe. The Accord Wagon can be had with a 2.2 liter ,150 hp CDi engine and two gasoline engines, a 2.0 liter, 156 hp and a 2.4 liter, 201 hp powerplant. All four-cylinder engines, naturellement. Naturlich? Whatever, yes, naturally – and, of course, the diesel unit is very stingy with fuel, just as its sedan sibling is.

Would you like a fuel-sipping, dead-on reliable, reasonably-priced wagon from Honda to consider in the US?

Well, you can’t have one. But you can look at these photos of the new Honda Accord Wagon released yesterday from Honda’s Media Relations Team in Europe:

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I hope you enjoyed that because it’s still not coming to the US.

Now, on to the simultaneous news that prompted this discourse.

Honda announced in the US yesterday that the Accord Crosstour (wait for it), a crossover/wagon vehicle, will be sold in the US in 2010. Why the ambiguity as to what it is?

Because Honda says it’s not a crossover OR a wagon, but rather, a new sort of vehicle. A new sort of vehicle that is just like the Toyota Venza, pretty much. Or, for that matter, the deceased Chrysler Pacifica. The test mule is running around with the 3.5 liter, 271 hp V6 that is in the Accord now, but Honda is so far refusing to give any more details.

Woo-hoo! Another crossover sort-of thing for sale in the American market. Too much ain’t enough, that’s what I say.

And they just keep coming.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Editor’s Note: GregR (comments below) is correct; I did forget that the Cadillac CTS Sportwagen finally showed up in dealerships a few months ago. Built for what used to be GM’s non-Opel European market, and offered here in the US, the Cadillac CTS Sportwagen is a very, very nice piece of work. I was standing in front of it when it debuted a long time ago at a press event, and somehow I still forgot that it went on sale a few months ago. Apologies, and the text in the piece is changed to reflect that fact.

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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22 Comments

  1. I guess the station-wagon in North America, is still being plagued by the image of the “Truckster” from the movie “National Lampoon’s vacations” after all these years http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagon_Queen_Family_Truckster
    http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_25982-Ford-LTD-Country-Squire-1979.html

    Also in Europe, the wagons are called “break” in France and in Down Under in Australia, Holden and Ford still offer wagons versions of their Commodore and Falcon.

  2. Perhaps it’s my age (61), but I dig traditional wagons. I owned a lovely 1999 Audi A-4 Avant, which was like a sport sedan with a fanny pack. Crossovers and some SUVs look like vehicles on stilts.

  3. Oops you forgot the new Cadillac CTS Sportwagen….

  4. Crossovers are just another step to wean Americans off their gigantor SUV’s. Be patient, my son.

  5. Also…due to the gas prices last year, I added a A4 Quattro Avant to our driveway. It was so we can use our Landrover less. It can carry our big stuff when we need too, but offers 33% better fuel economy.

  6. Our family had a Accord wagen before. It was great, jus the right size. Too bad you cant get a new one now.

  7. @docdoowop

    Not just you, I’m sure that bet there’s quite a few of us that appreciate wagons/hatches. I’m 23 myself and I love these types of cars. These are really the average everyday car lover’s dream; understated, handles, hauls (sometimes more than just mass), and for the most part, comes with proper manual gearboxes.

    Thing is, wagons/hatches typically only fill a fairly small niche here, many, if not most, of them enthusiasts. Sadly, many of us also don’t believe in buying new either.

  8. Who drives a wagon? Americans think housewives, so wagons are unpopular. That’s the way it is, and that’s the way it’s going be. Even actual housewives want a crossover, so how do you expect to sell those wagons to other people?

    THIS IS NOT EUROPE, no mater how much you want it to be. Americans need big cars like crossovers.

  9. For those who appreciate wagons, I spotted this interesting text on the following blog
    http://stylingcarsblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/rise-fall-of-american-station-wagon.html

    And even some hot-rodders had tuned some station-wagons into interesting sleepers and even created customized “muscle-wagon” like this 1970 Chevelle SS wagon http://www.leverfamilysite.com/Bob_Inhofs_Car.htm http://www.chevelles.com/wagons/70wagon.html
    or these Pontiac GTO wagons http://www.highperformancepontiac.com/features/hppp_0601_1968_pontiac_gto_wagon/index.html http://www.cardomain.com/ride/271991
    http://www.highperformancepontiac.com/features/0309hpp_1971_pontiac_lemans_gto_wagon/index.html

    maybe there still might be some place for a “shotting brake” or a modern Nomad wagon based on the new Camaro 😉

  10. For the US, this appears to be an Acura TSX in wagon form. Some (including me) will say it looks better than the Acura. This is a very appealing size – not too big but not tiny. Unfortunately, the product planners for Honda/Acura are still in the bigger and bigger mode which may be a bit out of step with the market. The US Accord has gotten so big it has passed from my consideration.

  11. As I’ve said on this site before, wagons are an ideal combination of the driving dynamics of a car with cargo capacity rivalling or exceeding SUVs.

    As to Mr. Gifter’s comments: why exactly is it that Americans “need” bigger vehicles? The preference for large vehicles is both cultural–we’re accustomed to it–and economic–gas is cheap here. And the first thing won’t change unless the second one does.

  12. I never understood why manufacturers don’t offer more of certain types of models that used to be popular, like station wagons and small pick-ups and when they do have them they don’t produce them in much numbers. I asked this question to a friend whose family owns a car dealership and he said to me that there simply isn’t enough money in it. After all, why sell a station wagon for a thousand dollars more than the sedan when you can build a CUV or Cross-over on the same platform and get many thousands more for it. Look at the Civic and C-RV as an example of this.

  13. Housewives, accountants, mail room managers, pastry chefs, Office Depot clerks, business executives, etc.,they all want be something more rugged. Funny.

  14. For me, one of the criteria for it being a wagon is that when you open the tailgate, it can’t have a lip that blocks you from sliding things in – if it does, it’s a hatchback, not a wagon.

    This makes the list pretty short outside of the luxury segment, though I think you missed the Chevy HHR as an American offering even if GM didn’t badge it that way. But outside of the the big money crowd (Volvos, Audis, etc.), the options really are pretty limited. The ones I can think of:

    Suzuki Forenza
    Chevy HHR
    Subaru Outback
    Mazda5

    Mitsubishi used to sell a wagon version of the Lancer here, but it seems to be gone from their website now. The PT Cruiser, the Elantra Touring, the Kia Rondo, the Jetta SportWagen, and a bunch of others are all excluded by my cargo lip criteria.

    Come to think of it, the Smart Car fits my definition as well – it’s got a flat cargo opening, and even a tailgate that folds down flat like the ’79 Malibu we had when I was a kid. Does that make it the only real “wagon” still sold in the US? 🙂

  15. All I want for Christmas is a nice sized wagon with a standard transmission and a rear bench seat. Now why can’t I find this!

  16. All I want for Christmas is a nice sized wagon with a standard transmission and a rear bench seat. Now why can’t I find this!

  17. Okay, I’m waiting for 2010 to see this wagon available in the U.S. This is the size I’m looking for…and it has to be a Honda; that’s all I’ll drive! The CRV and the Element are a bit large for me. I like the flat cargo opening like the ’79 Malibu and you don’t have to climb up into the driver’s seat.

  18. Most North Americans may ‘want’ a larger car – but it will be interesting to see the demand for a TSX-sportswagon (especially if the price of gas goes back up).

    I used to own a Camry wagon – great car (I only moved to the Sienna as they stopped making the wagon).

    I have been a Toyota customer for some 25 years – but the Venza does not cut it for me – The European Accord wagon looks an ideal vehicle to me – I will buy as soon as they become available at Acura!!

  19. I used to own a Camry wagon – great car (I only moved to the Sienna as they stopped making the wagon).
    I have been a Toyota customer for some 25 years – but the Venza does not cut it for me.
    The European Accord wagon looks an ideal vehicle to me – I will buy as soon as they become available at Acura!!

  20. i sill own a honda wagon i used to own a 59,63,64 chevy wagans,im into the wagon look, they are good for cargo space and the family,the cars or wagons honda says they have do not look like a crossover i would rather they bring the honda wagon too the us,it has a nice body style and im sure it gets good gas mileage,just why dont they bring it here they have other autos here,hope too see the honda wagon here soon it will be a good buy!!

  21. i would like too see the honda wagon come too the us so i can get my hands on one,i like the wagon look it has cargo room good for the family,i sure hope the bring the wagon here,it would be a good buy!!!!

  22. I have a 1996 honda wagon with 244000 miles on it. It is a great car and is a true workhorse. I really wish Honda would bring a new Honda wagon to the U.S.

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