By on May 6, 2015

2015-Volkswagen-Golf-Sportwagen

The latest sales numbers from April are a tale of two cars: one with a bodystyle we praise and another sporting a shape we denounce without impunity – the VW Golf SportWagen and Porsche Macan.

The long-roof Golf took nine days on average to find a buyer. The Macan is at 11 days.

Brown manual diesel all-wheel drive wagon it is not, yet the SportWagen does check most of the boxes typically associated with the practical car enthusiast set. You get space without having to pay the drag penalty associated with SUVs and their large frontal area. Also, for those looking for some performance, nothing delivers torque like diesel (unless you go electric, which is a discussion for another day).

porsche-macan-2013-la-auto-show-11

Which brings us to the Macan. Granted, the smaller Porsche-UV is exceptionally good, even if you do lose out on a considerable amount of cargo space compared to its platform mate, the Audi Q5. But, the Macan is still the antithesis of typical car enthusiast thinking: a high-riding utility vehicle that can’t go off-road sporting a badge from a “sportscar” company when, in fact, it has virtually nothing in common with the rest of the range. It’s also expensive, equipped horribly on the lower end of the price scale, and about as ‘aspirational’ as one can get.

So, that begs the question: are car enthusiasts ahead of the curve or behind it? Is the Golf SportWagen a case of the rest of the market finally “getting it” or just an odd blip in a typically silver SUV-filled market?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

113 Comments on “QOTD: Are Car Enthusiasts Ahead of or Behind the Market?...”


  • avatar
    don1967

    Enthusiasts are outside of the market.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Yup – the stopped clock being right twice a day isn’t quite the right analogy (I don’t think we’re wrong), but it’s largely just a case of pent-up demand overlapping with our interests.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I literally came in to say exactly this. 90% of “enthusiasts” never put their mouths where their money is. It grows tiring.

      GSW’s fast turnover is more a reflection of low inventory than anything else IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      Steinweg

      I also agree with don1967. Market? I subvert the market! I ignore the market! The market helps people who don’t know what they want to make buying decisions. I go into the market looking for the unicorn that checks my boxes.

    • 0 avatar
      Dawnrazor

      Honestly, we are probably more trouble than we are worth to most automakers (especially the big ones). The truth hurts a little, but the reality is enthusiasts are fussy and difficult to please, and often bite the hand that feeds them (FRS/BRZ, SS). Much easier to simply dump hundreds of thousands of Camrys and Accords on the market and not bother too much with pleasing a small niche-can’t blame them for focusing on the easy money. (Cars are not as culturally important as they once were, so the “halo effect” is probably much less relevant to marketing mainstream product than it was in the past.)

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        No way. Enthusiasts are a huge influence on those in their personal circle, and have an outsized impact on auto journalism in the long term. Manufacturers have metrics to support this and spend money accordingly. I think it is easy to lose sight of the full spectrum of auto enthusiasm. TTAC and Jalopnik are but a small slice. Many enthusiasts are happy just browsing autoblog or autonews occasionally, or are part of the actual enthusiast majority which is embroiled in the Ford/Chevy/Mopar debate to the exclusion of all else.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Enthusiasts are the reason why there remains a place for manual transmission GTIs, Audi A4s, Mustang GTs and the like. They serve as evangelists and can help to sell Jettas, AT-equipped A4s, other Fords, etc.

          But except for rare cases such as pony cars, they don’t buy enough vehicles to justify dedicating unique body styles to suit their whims. And they certainly don’t provide a reason for not building vehicles that many more people actually do want, such as crossovers.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        This.

        I should add that today’s “halo effect” doesn’t come from crazy enthusiast cars but from sheer brand power. Mercedes doesn’t sell boatloads of cynical crap CLAs because they sell AMG GTs. They sell all those CLAs because *everyone* knows that a three-pointed star means luxury. Branding has become completely independent of product.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I think too much can be made of this short-term trend. So, I’m going to do just that.

    We have people shopping small CUVs. I imagine many small, young families want something small, efficient, safe, and attractive. They shop the available small CUVs and notice the cost of them doesn’t quite match up with their small car counterparts. Being of frugal mind they decide to expand their search. Looking at Corollas and Civics and Focuses and they’ve heard of the Jetta, they think they’ve heard good things, so they check it out. Huh, what’s that over there? A wagon? Well, they don’t really care for the stigma of owning a wagon, but all that extra space is just what they’re looking for.
    They wonder if VW makes any CUVs. Then they buy a SportWagen.

    The Macan is basically the CUV version of the CLA. Nothing to see here.

    • 0 avatar

      “The Macan is basically the CUV version of the CLA. Nothing to see here.”

      The truth is much further from that statement. The CLA is a horrible. The driving dynamics are atrocious. The Macan? It’s actually a better sorted Q5.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        Don’t you DARE make me think I like that thing…

        I was already looking at it and thinking that it didn’t look TERRIBLE. We can’t have any more of these impure thoughts.

        Edit: Aaaaaand I just looked at the asking prices (which I will assume are presently non-negociable) and hoe leigh carp. Leave it to Porsche to have the difference in price from a base model to the upper trim level be $65k!
        Back to looking at SSes.

        • 0 avatar

          That’s the major problem with the Macan. At least it indoctrinates those new to the brand into a culture of “you must pay extra for everything.” I’d absolutely hate to drive a base Macan. It’s a double jeopardy penalty box. You get nothing and pay for it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I like the Macan! In person they read as a very expensive item (which they are). And this is saying something coming from me, because I don’t generally like Porsches made after about 1999.

          • 0 avatar
            Rod Panhard

            I seriously doubt you can find a base Macan or base GLA on any dealers’ lots. The low base price is just to get customers to the lot. The fact that they’ve removed the ropes of multi-colored plastic penants that flap-flap-flap in the breeze reduces the incidence of sticker shock. So here, have a latte and we’ll talk about that alcantara interior. The alcantaras come from a special farm in Belize….

          • 0 avatar

            The nickel-and-dime thing is not at all unfamiliar to those buying German cars, but it has been rampant at Porsche pretty much since the introduction of the Cayenne. That the Macan also adopts this philosophy is hardly new, unfortunately.

          • 0 avatar

            @Kyree S. Williams

            I wish I could post in the comments the Monroney sticker from my tester Macan S last year. It reads like an Apple accessories catalog. There was also an interesting line – Press Finish – that I questioned immediately. Got a good story from Porsche about that.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            What was the Press Finish story!?

          • 0 avatar

            I’ll post it in a couple of weeks.

          • 0 avatar

            Can’t wait. It should make for a good laugh. You’ve got to laugh at the company that would charge extra for a steering wheel and seats if it could get away with it.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      “The Macan is basically the CUV version of the CLA”

      Isn’t the GLA the CUV version of the CLA?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “Isn’t the GLA the CUV version of the CLA?”

        Boom! Bringing facts to the table.

        • 0 avatar
          zamoti

          I don’t really care much for cute-utes and especially overpriced ones at that but I saw a GLA 45 AMG on the floor and was surprised. It did not look like a typical cute-ute, it looked far meaner, lower with a more aggressive stance. It looked like a STI hatch’s angry cousin, especially bonkers from the rear. Wonder if the handling is up to snuff.
          At least it’s not boring.

          • 0 avatar
            brettc

            I’ve seen a couple of GLAs in the past few days. I had no idea they existed but did know about the CLA. Not a bad looking thing (whatever it is). Base price is in the $31xxx range, so in a couple years they’ll likely be affordable used since they’re probably considered atrocities by the Mercedes purists.

          • 0 avatar
            derekson

            The GLA is nice because it’s much closer to just being an A-class than most small CUVs are to being hatchbacks. It’s basically just an A-class with a slight lift and more aggressive fascia.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Quick inventory turn indicates that production matches demand. It does not necessarily mean that demand is high; retail deliveries are the best measure of popularity.

    YTD combined deliveries of the Golf and Jetta wagons total 3,411 units. Deliveries of the Jetta wagon during the same period of 2014 equaled 6705 units. 6705 was not a high figure for a mainstream car at the four-month mark, and this year’s deliveries are running at about half of that pace.

    A lot of car enthusiasm is based on nostalgia and therefore behind the curve.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Purchases aren’t really the best measure. Rather, it’s the demand curve, because given two vehicles that are equally popular or desired, but if one costs more, it will sell less.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Money talks, BS walks. If you want to know what’s in demand, then follow the money to where it gets spent. Almost none of it is being spent on VW station wagons.

  • avatar

    How about out in the Left Field of the market.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    first off, I think there’s a confusion of relative supply vs. demand. knowing this site, that’s probably deliberate.

    second off, of what curve do you speak? pretty much since time immemorial (like 1970), the US market has bought wagons. Oh, we’ve called them different things over the years, like, well… ‘wagons’, but also minivans, SUV’s, CUVs, etc. but really, it’s always a wagon.

    I’d bet folding money that if you looked at the average size of these things over the years, they’re pretty consistent, too. Everyone loves CUV’s these days. We’re probably at peak CUV. But the modern ‘cute-ute’ really isn’t that much smaller than the massively popular Ford Explorers of the early 90’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Funny you should mention that.

      We test drove a ’15 Forester with my mom a few weeks ago and she (correctly) noted that it wasn’t markedly smaller in any meaningful measure than her ’98 Explorer had been. Which in turn was not usefully bigger inside than the two Taurus wagons which preceded it.

      Now, whether she’d be willing to trade down to that from her prior 4Runner (quite large) or her current Pilot ($!#@in’ capacious) is another matter.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Enthusiasts are out of the market. Why? Simply, to hear it on here, nobody buys anything new, only USED!

    After all, one cannot expect the OEMs to build a fine, small, brown, turbo-diesel, manual wagon if the so-called enthusiast will not buy one new, for no one else wants one.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think we’re both out of and behind the market. We’re past the storage room, and to the left of the garbage cans behind the building, as it were.

      All we do all day is talk about what cool models aren’t made any more, and reminisce about which 4BBL carbed engine in late 70’s American Motors models has the most torque.

      And we want models which aren’t made now and wouldn’t comply with modern regulation, simply because we have a good memory of them in 1972 (just generalizing, we aren’t all THAT old).

      • 0 avatar
        Rod Panhard

        We’re like the idiots on my street who obsess about the Yankees. Except we aren’t out there hollering at our kids about it. Since Yankees tickets are so expensive, they can’t afford to go to games. And neither can we afford the brown Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon with the AMG package.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I will say, around Toronto, the GSW/JSW isn’t exactly common, but in a few neighbourhoods, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see one on every street (the balance is slightly more TDI than gas, but we’ll see if that shifts with the MkVII).

    Of course, I want to see small wagons succeed, so I’m probably looking for it, but at the very least, it’s fulfilling a market that clearly exists. It might be tiny, it might only be able to justify one more entrant (Mazda, I’m looking at you as our best bet), but it exists.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      It’s the same thing in Boston. Particularly in Cambridge, Jetta SportWagens are actually quite common. There is absolutely a certain type of customer that loves these cars and won’t even really consider anything else, because it has no competition in this market really. In Europe they have Civic and Focus and even Cruze wagons, but none of those companies bring them stateside.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    I guess it depends on what enthusiast, hot-button issue we are looking at…cars with three pedals or the appeal of vehicles that are simple & light? Then we are definitely behind. Other requested features like AWD and a classy-looking wagon make us look like prophets.

    As a former two-time TDI buyer, I’ve been asking my VW dealer for an AWD wagon / hatch for over 15 years. My cars were immune from other’s difficulties, so I have no ax to grind. However, VW’s level of market incompetence in North America forced me to stray and I haven’t really looked back.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The Macan could, possibly, become a vehicle used in an all-encompassing case study relating to many characteristics of the modern, seemingly bipolar, irrational, price “caste” & brand obsessive American vehicle market.

    It’s an alleged CUV, even if Porsche markets and/or designed it as/to be more Sport Activity Vehicle.

    It has less interior room than many midsize coupes/sedans/wagons (and some compact vehicles in these segments?), while being priced in firmly premium territory (it wears the Porsche badge, after all).

    It drives more Porsche than Posh, at least according to the glossy magazines with all the “expert” reviews and many, many car wax, weather mat & boner pill/cream ads occupying the last 8 pages or so.

    You definitely can’t wear a Cowboy hat while driving it, and wouldn’t want to wear a fedora, and it’s not good at hauling cattle fencing or music equipment/gear.

    It likely has “sealed for life” major components, such as its transmission case, lacks a physical oil dipstick (anyone?), and will fall into mechanical servicing obsolescence far more quickly than even most off-lease uber-autobahn Fahrver-fig-given forbidden fruit (with Hublot Big Bang, Hamilton Jazzmaster guts – credit Jack Baruth).

    What will Crabspirits write about the rotting hulls of circa-2016 Macans that are likely deposited into U-Pick Salvage Yards around the year 2028, festooned with residual accoutrements & leftover detritus of the “SAV entry level Porsche life” as it existed a decade or so earlier in America?

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Enthusiasts are a part of the market. A small part, but still a part of it.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Yes… we are the guys in the nosebleed seats, screaming “YOURE A BUM!!!! GET IM OUTTA HEA!!!” at all the folks actually buying, selling and making cars. We are self righteous, vocal, irrational spectators.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Sporty Accord,
        laugh out load when I read this and it is true, much better company in the nose bleeds

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        And yet a number of us actually buy what we shout about. I’ve bought two new premium manual transmission station wagons in the past 6 years. I would have bought another one this year if BMW would sell me an F31 with a stickshift. But I will settle for an M235i and keeping the one I have. So no real loss for them, I guess.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    As much as I’d like to think that the new Golf Sportwagon is flying off lots because it received so much good press and is a rather nice vehicle, I imagine that there is a little bit of pent-up demand, and initial production has taken a little bit to get going.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    I had to sit in a Macan while the owner told me how it handled “just like a sports car”. Then the other day a co worker who buys BMWs told me in all seriousness that “BMW really does make the ultimate driving machine”. I think marketers have put something in the water!

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, the Macan is definitely no sports car. But it’s impressive when you drive it back-to-back with the Q5. Same architecture but the Q5 pushes in corners while the Macan gives them a gentle hug.

      • 0 avatar
        oldowl

        Sort of…so what? Macan gives a powerful hug to the finances. Q5 is gentler there, though the cost push is big enough.

      • 0 avatar
        ccd1

        The funny part was that the driver did not know I actually owned a sports car as he extolled the driving attributes of the Macan. But it did seem, from a brief ride, like a very nice car.

        • 0 avatar
          This Is Dawg

          Did it seem $137,000 nice? Lol not that I’m assuming anyone is fool enough to spend that amount of money on this car, but I was able to price one that high on their website. It looked like a damn playplace on the inside too with all the various trim pieces you can customize. You can put leather on the air vent slats for chrissake!

  • avatar
    Driver8

    GSW is the only affordable real wagon out there. It’s a small niche in the US, but a niche it’s got cornered nonetheless.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I don’t like that it’s FWD only. In upper trims, the nearest competitors are that little Allroad and the stupid V60 wagon.

      But in lower trims it makes sense, and is without competitor! But who wants a base trim VW? (Cue someone shouting at me about the purity of simplicity and the simple, solid origins of VW. Then cue me pointing to a melting Jetta.)

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        A base Jetta is a little iffy, but a base Golf is a perfectly pleasant place to be – it has air conditioning, it has a functioning radio, cruise control’s available. It’s not exactly hairshirt motoring.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        The mid grade SE is the sweet spot. Kind of pricey but not too bad. 17″ wheels, big sunroof, and optional HIDs put it at about 27K.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          That doesn’t sound too bad.

          • 0 avatar
            Driver8

            The $22K base S wagon seems purposely gimped (mushy 65 series tires on 15s, no heated seats, manual is only a 5speed with lower engine torque), and the 5K/20% leap the SE is not a good bargain, not least of all because of the trick but potentially failure prone pano roof (class action anyone?). The SEL puts it too close in price to higher segment models, and its 18″ wheels are too delicate for the snow belt.

            Adding a wagon ass-end to an otherwise identical, highly rated 4 door hatch, should intuitively be rewarding in given the cost involved.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I would seriously consider the “hair shirt” GSW with the 5spd manual, I think it is priced right, and I say bring on the cheap to buy 15″ high aspect ratio tires! Roads here aren’t getting any better as of late.

            I’m actually the weirdo that wouldn’t mind seeing them make a super-base GSW with the 2.0L 8 valve motor!

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The AWD + cladding GSW is coming soon. Unfortunately, like most of VW’s transverse AWD products, the AWD system is useless except for starting from a stop.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          I’ve read a bunch of Golf R tests and reviews that don’t agree with you. They mostly say it makes a difference in acceleration out of a corner, and that’s a big part of getting anything with a front weight bias around a track faster.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The Golf R system is very different from the systems in the more quotidian products, which only respond after detecting slip. I think it was actually someone here who edumacated me about the Golf R, S3, and TTS/TT-RS systems being true full-time systems despite their Haldex genes.

  • avatar
    slance66

    I don’t really believe that any auto “enthusiasts” are buying Jetta Sportwagons. Some are buying Macans. The whole brown, manual, diesel wagon thing is a myth. Enthusiasts have many stripes, including those like Dead Weight who seemingly place no value on any gadgets or gizmos, and look for the best size, suspension and drive-train combination. Most of them and most shoppers, will find that their needs change over time, as they age, commute grows or shrinks, gas goes up or down, family grows or shrinks and winter does or does not play a role.

    This enthusiast has been looking for a car/suv for 8 months and can’t find anything he likes for the price. Nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      I share your pain, but it’s been three times longer for me. The vehicles on sale now are pretty anodyne and nothing has made me part with my money. That’s at a $40K limit.

      Instead, I’ve focused on keeping the car I own and like in tip-top shape.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        I, too, am in this solidarity of suffering, but for far longer a time. And I’m sorry to say that it has shaken my faith in ever again seeing new tall boy wagons available.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        Unfortunately in my case, while I like my current car (E90 328xi) and it will last quite awhile, it has become unsuitable for the broken pavement that passes for roads where I live. It’s not just the runflats.

        As @gearhead77 says, we are too specific in our needs. We know too much to be satisfied if there is some aspect of a vehicle that fails our specific requirements. That’s almost certainly my problem.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      slance66 since I own a 12 sportwagen, by your definition I must not be a enthusiast even though Ive upgraded it with Koni FSD’s, H&R sway bars, better tires, ect. I also own a BMW 335d (no runflats), a numbers matching hemi roadrunner, a 340 barracuda, a 240Z with triple webers, cam suspension that Ive autocrossed and roadraced extensively, and last but not least a Nissan Titan with 20″ Momos, Bilsteins, rear air bags, bumped timing, tint …….but Im not an enthusiast because I have the audacity to own a VW sportwagen…..right. Somehow I think that you are a psudo-enthusiast

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    As enthusiasts, I think we are just more specific in what we want. At least according to most comments here, we all have very specific values in mind when looking for our ride. Most people walk into a dealer and whatever has leather,Bluetooth and chrome wheels is what they leave with. Since riding high in SUV’s has been with us(popularly) for 20+ years, so many are used to that, it’s SUV’s they want.

    As mentioned, a small wagon (based on Golf?) would have probably been a better enthusiast fit for Porsche, but that’s not what will sell according to Porsche. My folks have a Q5 and I like the thing, but I wouldn’t pay extra for a vehicle with less room and utility. I don’t need a CUV with a Porsche badge, I’d prefer my car to have a Porsche badge, preferably in 911, Boxster or Cayman form.

    Plus, as someone else mentioned, we might buy used over new if we can get what we want. Personally, I like new cars, but I’m not averse to buying used. I’m not opposed to leasing either because it works for us, it’s not for everyone. Really, it comes down to need at the time.

    But I don’t need to have a Macan. And no one else does either. But if you want to, Porsche has it for you.

  • avatar

    The Golf SportWagen is a reworked version of the recipe that is loved within a certain enthusiast community, and will remain a niche product. It’s only the low inventory that’s caused it to enjoy such fast sales. The Macan, OTOH, is basically a hot hatch marketed as an SUV…which gives it the status to attract the masses of non-enthusiast luxury car shoppers, and the actual performance cred to attract enthusiasts. The Macan is much more of a performance car than the Cayenne, and I’d like to think that the even the non-enthusiasts who end up buying it can appreciate its virtues.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Enthusiasts are their own market segment. Judging by the amount of enthusiast oriented vehicles available today and relatively high sales/transaction prices, the enthusiast market is a healthy one and is setting its own trends.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    An enthusiast generally allows his enthusiasm to overshadow his rational decision-making ability, so in general an enthusiast runs behind the market. They need to be enthusiastic about something before they can buy it, and that takes time. Occasionally, however, you’ll get people that are enthusiastic about a brand (Apple, BMW?) who buy the new unproven product because of their brand enthusiasm. When that product proves to be incredible, the enthusiasts turn out to be ahead of the market. If not, they are kind of just idiots I guess.

    Another thing that enthusiasts tend to do is to think in terms of descriptions and feature sets, rather than the capabilities and attributes that those features provide. The fact that an engine has 8 cylinders arranged in a V shape is less important than the smoothness, torque delivery, sound, etc provided by that arrangement. The enthusiast will demand the V8 (which might end up being a clunker of a V8 for all anyone knows) while the more practical driver would accept the supercharged V6 with fake engine noise, which gives him all of the beneficial attributes of the V8 but with less weight, better fuel economy, etc. And that makes the more practical driver far, far ahead of the market compared to the enthusiast.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    There are so many different kinds of car enthusiasm that there can’t be just one answer to the queniton.

    Personally, I’m ahead of the curve when it comes to my interests in:
    1. EVs and plugin vehicles
    2. Family vehicles

    I’m behind the curve in terms of my interest in small trucks, or at least that’s what the industry people on this blog consistentry tell me. Still, my 1998 Ranger was one of the best vehicles I’ve owned and I’d love to own a modernized version.

    My personal opinion is that the following enthusiast positions are behind the curve:
    * V8 or nothing
    * FWD or noting
    * CVTs bad and step shift automatics good: Hey, if you’re going to go automatic, do it right and use a CVT.
    * Manual or nothing: Nhin used to me, because step-shift automatics were bad before modern controls. I’m happiest in a manual or a CVT. I get it, but there’s an element of using the right tool for the right driving environment that’s missing from the discussion here.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Just ask yourself this, if enthusiasts decided all models to put in production would we have crossovers? The crossover craze is proof they dont have a clue about the market.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      3800fan

      Ah, but enthusiasts were the ones who blazed (ha) that trail. Those earlier Blazers and Broncos went to off-road and truck enthusiasts long before they made the cross-over (double ha) to the family market. Hatchback short bed pickup anyone? Minivans, on the other hand, went straight into family driveways.

      Granted the Blazers and Broncos were dangerous and poorly suited to family use so the formula had to drastically change. That change is at the root of the antipathy that all enthusiasts have internalized against the class. Oddly enough it goes both ways since these have replaced many wagons; scorn the former truck who can’t off-road and deride the lifted wagon that can’t handle.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    At our regional auto show, Porsche told me with a big smile: “We’re a boutique manufacturer. You’ll pay more for our cars, you’ll pay more to get them serviced, and when our standard warranty runs out, you are on your own!”. Buyer Beware. :-O

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Imagine if more and more buyers wanted wagons instead of SUV/CUV’s, most makers would be caught with their pants down.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Most people don’t drive near fast enough — well, strike that, with enough skill — for the low ride height to be even remotely noticeable to them, and they perceive being higher as being safer and better in snow. I doubt you’re going see any shift back to low riding station wagons, but I’d love to be proven wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        Chan

        Let’s step back a little and look at a more basic level of functionality.

        A tall hatchback / compact CUV is much, much easier to get into and out of than the traditional sedan or its wagon equivalent.

        Safer or not, higher view or not, you don’t even need to drive it to understand that appeal.

        The new wave of compact CUVs is now reaching below the 3000-lb. threshold. Even a Porsche Boxster weighs 3000 lbs. That is progress.

        • 0 avatar
          slance66

          Ride height and ground clearance are practical for most. The ability to go around a corner at high speed or hit 60 in under 6 seconds? Not very useful in the real world.

          Meanwhile, due to engineering advances and tire improvement, most CUVs and “sporty” SUVs actually do handle as well or better than sedans from not long ago. Consumers have not given up anything. As cars improve, the trade-offs in the “jack of all trades, master of none” approach drop dramatically.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      And they’d be caught with their pants down if buyers suddenly started wanting crank windows, too.

      Higher ride height is here to stay. The market has amply spoken. It’s just a matter of time before almost all cars, except for sports cars, are at current CUV height.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        Crank windows?? really?? people expect their hatches and trunks to close and open at the touch of a button, I don’t think electric windows nor locks are going anywhere.

      • 0 avatar
        Chan

        If I’m buying a German car, I would actually prefer hand crank windows. One less thing to break!

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          Haha! How about a Golf GTI wagon with the “Competition Package,” which will delete the power windows, door locks, cruise, heated seats, sound deadener and A/C and give you extra hard Bilstein shocks? We can order yours up in brown I assume.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I’ve never had to fix an electric window in a German car. However, I have had to fix manual windows in three of them. Go figure.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            I have a 2004 Jetta with a bad driver’s side power window motor.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            In my 00 A8L, I rolled the rear passenger window down once as I was leaving work, and it caught the wire for the door release latch inside the door, and pulled it loose. This caused it to be impossible for the door to latch, which I didn’t notice that it swung open until on the freeway entrance ramp.

            That was a fun afternoon.

            I did pull over on the ramp, and got into the back seat to try and figure what was wrong, and if I could force the latch, closed (using a screwdriver I had in the car, handily). No dice. So I took off my belt (happened to be a cloth belt that day, thank Jeebus) and proceeded to rig it to the interior door pull, along with two of the seat belts and the center arm rest, in an attempt to get it tight.

            Then the police pulled up, and got to see this scene in the back of the car.

          • 0 avatar

            My Mk.3 Jetta VR6 (second car, which I will offload soon) has gone through eight or nine window regulator/motor assemblies over its lifetime. However, the Mk.3s and Mk.4s are basically pieces of sh!t in terms of build quality…so that’s to be expected.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I don’t think they’re either ahead or behind the market, they’re their own market. Now, I think this market is smaller than it was 20 years ago, so you’re seeing fewer and fewer of these vehicles. People don’t make as much money as they once did, so there’s less disposable income out there to spend on enthusiast vehicles, which often are second cars.

    They of course Want the brown E63 AMG wagon but they cannot afford it. So they end up in a Nissan Rogue S with a 60 month payment plan and maybe a used 2003 Miata or other enthusiast vehicle they can pick up for less than 10 grand in the garage for weekend use.

    The masses are poorer too but they still need to buy vehicles, so they buy what they perceive to be the most practical, which is increasingly a crossover. I think it’s less about what the market wants than what the market thinks it needs.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      This. If we were all the internet millionaires we claim to be, we’d all have garages like Floyd Mayweather, except without all the stupid Veyron’s. I mean, I don’t like buying the same vehicle twice, let alone having 3 variations on the same car. Jay Leno is a true auto enthusiast and had the fortune to spend his fortune to indulge it.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Let me add that just because they’re broke doesn’t mean they’re less enthusiastic! So their demands for cars they’ll never buy are an understandable, if not annoying, part of our contracting economy. If you in-shored manufacturing from China, among other macroeconomic adjustments, brown manual wagons would sell in enough quantities so that we’d see them.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      There are a few guys on the internet who talk about diesel station wagons and midsize pickup trucks.

      Most enthusiasts who actually buy new cars are buying hot hatches, pony cars, roadsters and the like.

      • 0 avatar
        Chan

        The practical enthusiast segment is doing just fine. I see lots of new WRXs (and yes, SportWagens too) around here, and the advent of a CVT version is only going to increase sales.

        The easier ingress/egress of a well-packaged CUV is going to make wagons a harder sell from now on. They are now starting to match the fuel economy of lower-riding cars, and curb weights are also falling. The Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V now start at < 3000 lbs.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @pch101

        I’ve owned both a Jetta TDI and a Ford Ranger. I’m a fan of both vehicles, but both are flawed — one was as reliable as my father’s Volkswagen, the other hasn’t been significantly updated since 1998 and had wheel wells which protruded awkwardly into the cargo floor.

        Now that I’m rich enough to buy new, I’d consider buying a flaws-fixed and modernized version of either. The offering must be better than the decade old Toyotas in my driveway, though. I’ll will make compromises for a plug, though.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Meh. Just because you don’t have new AMG Mercedes money doesn’t mean you have to drive a rolling penalty box like a Rogue. I would shoot myself first. Even when I couldn’t afford new cars I still drove all sorts of interesting cars. I just had a limit of $5K per car and I invested in the tools and knowledge to fix them myself (which I did not really need to do much of). Life is WAY too short to drove beigemobiles.

      I’d certainly buy a crossover before I would buy a sedan, but I would buy a used wagon before either of them.

      I still say the ride-height thing is a red herring. It’s the extra space and practicality that sells CUVs over sedans, and the perception of butchness that sells them over proper wagons. If ride height were such a draw we would see legions of sedans on stilts. The Subaru Legacy SUS was an utter sales failure. Though I fully expect to see a BMW X-something with an actual trunk at some point…

      • 0 avatar

        “Meh. Just because you don’t have new AMG Mercedes money doesn’t mean you have to drive a rolling penalty box like a Rogue.”

        This. There’s certainly a lot of interesting ground between a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG wagon (which is on my list of cars to own), and a Nissan Rogue. If you go easy on the options, a GTI isn’t at all an expensive or compromised vehicle for someone who can afford the price of the average new car. Ditto for the BRZ/FR-S, and presumably the upcoming ND MX-5 Miata. That’s not to mention all of the awesome pre-owned metal you can buy for around or under $20K, such as your own E90 wagon.

        Also, did you get your 235i yet?

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Euro Delivery 8/21 for the M235i, then a month in the old countries. Followed up by Performance Center re-delivery. Someday. Sigh. The waiting is killing me!

  • avatar
    carguy

    Neither. Car enthusiast priorities are just different from the mainstream market. They don’t so much care about soft touch plastics, cup holders and rear leg room as the experience of driving the car. They are also a minority so let’s hope there are enough of us to continue to justify making mainstream performance cars.

  • avatar
    Delta88

    The GSW S is not nearly the penalty box you may imagine it to be. Also, it has 16″ wheels standard, not 15s.

    • 0 avatar

      This is true. It’s quite improved over the Jetta SportWagen, whose base gasoline model had a less-fuel-efficient engine, lacked any sort of power-assisted seat, forewent leatherette in favor of cloth, and didn’t have alloy rims. And even then, if the Jetta SportWagen S skimped on features, you could still tell it was a well-built vehicle, with higher materials quality than, say, the Jetta S. The Golf SportWagen TSI S comes standard with a lot of the stuff that was missing on the Jetta SportWagen S.

    • 0 avatar
      Variant

      True, it’s not a penalty box at all, but the 2015 GSW TSI S comes with 15″ alloys. I rather like my poverty spec 2014 JSW 2.5 S and it has 16″ steelies with plastic wheelcovers. I’d prefer the smaller alloys if I could.

      My lease is up in April 2017 and I’ve already told my dealer I want an AWD 1.8T GSW, and if they could fit the 6 speed or DSG in there, even better.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Scoutdude: I have not seen #2 yet. Looks interesting but it doesn’t really address the total problem. What...
  • APaGttH: Almost $30K for a Corolla if you tick all the boxes…and no more grunt under the hood. $26K to enter...
  • Michael S6: 29 k is GTI money
  • EBFlex: Why does anyone reply to EBFlex? He’s obnoxious, aggressively ignorant, and has never added an ounce of...
  • ToolGuy: Oh hey Peter. “GM is awesome, and Cadillac represents GM at its finest.” Agree or disagree?

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber