C’mon, you know the reason why…
By Brendan Moore
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:
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.
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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.