Even Volvo Buyers Don't Buy Wagons

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

You didn’t think the V60 was going to save Volvo, and it hasn’t.

The job of saving Volvo in North America will be left up to the next XC90, a nameplate which accounted for 28% of Volvo USA sales in 2004, but just 9% so far this year.

The hope was that the V60 would show loyalists that Volvo is still in the wagon business, that Volvo is still Volvo. However, the owner of a one child/two dog V50 may not yet have even noticed one of the new wagons on roadways, as only 9% of the Volvos sold in the United States so far this year have been V60 wagons.

XC70 included, 17% of the Volvos sold this year have been wagons. Fortunately, that figure is up from 7% during the first eight months of 2013. But the overall Volvo free fall has continued regardless, as total eight-month volume has tumbled by nearly 5000 units, an 11% decline.

Clearly, America doesn’t possess a European-like level of fondness for wagons. S60 sedan sales are down 15% in 2014, but Volvo still sells more than four S60s for every single V60.

Before the XC60 crowded in, wagons were playing a diminished role in Volvo showrooms. From 31% in 2000, 34% in 2001, 30% in 2002, Volvo’s wagon responsibility in the U.S. fell to 24% in 2003, 22% in 2004 and 2005, 20% in 2006, 18% in 2007, and 20% in 2008. The XC60 joined the lineup in 2009, eating into the slice of the pie owned by the XC70, V70, and V50, chopping it down to just 16%. That figure perked up to 17% in 2010 then tumbled to 9% in 2011 and 8% in 2012, by which time the contributions of the V50 and V70 had ceased.

If Volvo was simply transitioning as a company away from wagons, these figures wouldn’t be concerning in the least.

Volvo was not transitioning in the U.S. market. The brand was simply crumbling. Year-over-year volume declined in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013. Volvo’s U.S. volume fell 56% between 2004 and 2013.

It’s not as though a fleet of wagons would have completely saved the day. Other automakers sell very few copies of their wagons, too. Only 15% of the Acura TSXs sold in 2012, just 4234 units, were wagons. Audi sold 4367 A4 Allroads in the final eight months of 2012, 5386 in all of 2013, and year-over-year Allroad sales have declined 19% to just 2961 units year-to-date. Jetta SportWagen sales slid 6% to 22,534 units last year, less than one-sixth the total achieved by the Jetta sedan.

True, dealers don’t keep boatloads of wagons in their inventory, but why would they? Wagon buyers are few and far between.

The C30 and C70 have been cancelled, XC70 volume is down 3% this year, and sales of the S60, S80, XC60, and XC90 are all sliding, 15%, 3%, 13%, and 29%, respectively. Adding the V60 to Volvo’s lineup hasn’t been nearly enough to stymie the persistent declines generated by the rest of the brand’s lineup.

Not that you thought it would.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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  • Chicagoland Chicagoland on Sep 19, 2014

    Volvo wagon loyalists buy used and 'never buy a new car'. Plus they are aging out. Subaru's Outback wagons are virtually SUV's now, but not exactly outselling CR-V, RAV4, or Escape.

  • Buckshot Buckshot on Sep 19, 2014

    Strange how different markets can be. In Sweden there are about 4.5 wagons sold for 1 sedan. Volvo sells about 9 wagons for 1 sedan.

  • Teddyc73 Oh look, dull dreary grey with black trim. How original. The greying of America continues.
  • Redapple2 It doesnt cost much for the mfr to add it as standard. Car makers always strive to surprise and delight the customer. Always ask yourself when considering a new ride, are they trying to take of me- treat me or screw me hard. Take the vampire. A couple quick- come to mind -examples. 1 deleting carplay. 2 buy a Denali and Chrystal Pearl White paint is $1295. On a 2024 Subaru Forester is free. I d put it to you, the Forester's paint is better. Do your own test. Is the Evil gm Vampire trying to Surprise and delight you or screw you??
  • Tassos Wise decision, esp if we are talking about UAW goons. ANd never hire them back, AUTOMATE or shut down the joint.
  • JK I grew up with Dodge trucks in the US, and now live in Turin, Italy, the home of Fiat. I don't think Italians view this as an Italian company either. There are constant news articles and protests about how stalantis is moving operations out of Italy. Jeep is strangely popular here though. I think last time I looked at stelantis's numbers, Jeep was the only thing saving them from big big problems.
  • Bd2 Oh yeah, funny how Trumpers (much less the Orange Con, himself) are perfectly willing to throw away the Constitution...