Just a few years ago, it looked like station wagons--stripped of the faux wood siding and nine MPG V8s from the 1970s--were poised to make a comeback as consumers tired of bulky, gas guzzling
SUVs. New models like the Dodge Magnum, the Chevrolet Malibu Maxx and wagon versions of many imported sedans flooded the market. They've stalled, and experts say crossover SUVs are largely responsible
for doing in the anticipated wagon renaissance.
"People who have been station-wagon users in the past have so many great choices today," observes Robert Davis, senior vice president
of product development and quality for Mazda North America Operations. First among those choices is the new flood of car-like crossover SUVs, but Mazda also offers the small Mazda5 minivan as another
Wagon sales have also been dinged by the mortgage market, according to Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research. Another factor driving some customers to SUVs is the popularity of dark-tinted windows. Federal regulations permit tinted windows on SUVs, but not on wagons. With black glass, "you can use the glass as a styling cue," says Davis.