By on July 17, 2019

Volkswagen is abandoning SportWagen and Alltrack versions of the Golf in the United States. You already know why; crossovers are all anyone ever thinks about anymore. While we’re over here having sweaty fever dreams about sedans and extended hatchbacks, the rest of America is pulling up graphic crossover comparisons online — with the blinds tightly drawn, hopefully.

The front and all-wheel-drive wagons apparently could not keep up with VW’s crossover lineup, which currently accounts for more than half of Volkswagen’s sales in the U.S. and is only expected to get bigger. 

“SUVs have definitely assumed the mantle of family haulers from the station wagons and minivans we remember from our childhoods,” explained Scott Keogh President and CEO of Volkswagen of America. “But as we look towards the future, both our expanded SUV lineup and the upcoming ID. family of electric vehicles will bring the opportunity to combine the style and space people want in a variety of ways. As the ID. BUZZ concept demonstrates, the flexibility of our EV platform gives us the ability to revive body styles of the past, so anything is possible.”

Both of the wagons are currently manufactured at the automaker’s plant in Puebla, Mexico, which ended production on the Beetle earlier this month. While they’re unlikely to to get the same high-profile farewell, their absence will still be felt on a market that’s gradually becoming over-saturated with crossover vehicles. But that’s what sells right now and it’s hardly fair to expect companies not to focus on higher-margin products.

Sales data indicates that Volkswagen has only sold 5,123 SportWagens through the end of June in 2019. Last year, it moved 14,123 inside the U.S. — a significant drop over 2018’s 26,700 deliveries.

The company announced that the cars would be on sale through the end of the year “to provide enthusiasts additional opportunity to own an affordable, European-designed wagon.” It also cited its lengthy history with the wagon body style — bringing up the Squareback, Type 412, Dasher, Quantum, Fox, and more before talking about how good present-day Atlas and Tiguan sales have been.

It’s always nice to see an automaker acknowledge the past, even when they’re obliterating it. Such is the nature of progress, we suppose.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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69 Comments on “Wagenless: VW Ditches SportWagen and Alltrack in America...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I can’t remember the last time I saw a wagon bodied vehicle. It’s been years.

  • avatar

    Placing an order for a 2019 Golf Alltrack SEL 6-Speed (Pure White on Marrakesh) in 3, 2, 1.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Are you going to paint it brown?

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Doubt you’d be successful even if you were serious. I’ve been watching this for awhile now and the Alltrack has been on very limited availability since the start of the model year. You can’t find them at the dealer and I’m not even sure if they’d even allow you to order one. At a minimum you’d be heavily discouraged and encouraged into something else, like a CUV or GTI.

      I understand the current fad but part of it is automakers being self-defeating. If customers can’t get the car, and they don’t advertise, they’re not going to sell any. It is what it is.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Volkswagen of Marietta has one in stock:

        https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/767287074/overview/

      • 0 avatar
        kefkafloyd

        My brother just bought an Alltrack a few weeks ago. SE with all the fixins. It’s a lovely car.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        There are 2000+ listed on CarGurus, including over 800 manuals. The key to CarGurus is clicking through to the dealer website to verify the car has the equipment you want and that there are no unlisted fees or games. Florida dealers are infamous for “$899 processing fees”; at least two Massachusetts Subaru dealers list prices inclusive of your $2000 trade. I’m sure there are more games out there but overall the vast majority of ads are straight forward.

        • 0 avatar
          Secret Hi5

          Dave M:
          “…list prices inclusive of your $2000 trade”
          -That has to be among the worst deception that’s somehow not illegal. Worse than impossible combinations of rebates.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Well, there go the only non-GTI VWs I would ever buy. And so much for my plan to talk my girlfriend into one of these, for those times when my GTI just isn’t long enough.

    Once the Opel Regal wagon becomes an orphan, the most affordable wagon in America will be a Chinese Volvo costing $40K.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “European-designed”

    Not “German-engineered” anymore? Just what exactly does VW mean by these terms?

    • 0 avatar

      Europe was overtaken over by Germany way back in 1930s-1940s. Like Russia called its empire Soviet Union Germans called their empire European Commonwealth and then European Union but in reality when you say “European cars are this and that” it means German cars and nothing else. True Brits managed to declare independence but again in reality they still remain the German province and struggle to secede from Union.

      • 0 avatar
        Mike Beranek

        Uh, not really. They build cars in France, Italy, Spain, and the Czech Republic too, ya’know. I think they even build cars in Russia, of all places.
        Germany finds itself in a very bad position- a country that has an economy focused on building something (internal combustion automobiles) that is about to become obsolete.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    Hardly a surprise. The rumor mill has been buzzing for a while about no Golfs of any sort, save the GTI, for the US with the end of the Mk VII.

    So…do I find a beater/city car somewhere to keep my Jetta wagon out of the winter road salt and potholes of Motown, now that it will shortly be irreplaceable?

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    Saw a red Golf Alltrack wagon on a hotel lot a while back. Gave it the walk round. Tidy and practical. Nice interior. Dare I say, classy without being over the top? Thought it was one of the best looking vehicles I’d seen in a long while. I did think that being on the ID platform would give me more peace of mind about longevity and reliability.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    As much as I will never buy a German car, made in Mexico; I feel bad cause I like cars like this, with manual…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Matt a slight error, there was a 411 as well as a 412. So it is Type IV not “type 412”.

    And I owned both a Type III squareback and a Type IV squareback. And it is always nice to see pictures/mentions of these largely forgotten vehicles.

    The Type III was my favourite air cooled VW.

    The Type IV was engineering and design wise light years ahead of its North American competition (Vega, Pinto, etc). However as previously related it did exhibit some of the ‘quality’ issues that would later bedevil VW. As well as the rather unsympathetic dealer experience.

    And is the AllTrack not manufactured in Germany, rather than Mexico?

    • 0 avatar
      hpycamper

      Agree regarding the Type III squareback. Have had numerous air cooled VWs and the best was the 1967 Type III squareback I had in the 80s. Just an all around nice car to drive, and useful too.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Hey Arthur,

      Weirdly, Volkswagen didn’t bother to bring up the 411. That’s why I didn’t mention it. The cars I listed were the only classic models the company bothered to “honor” in its farewell tribute to wagons before getting into the more modern era (Passat, Jetta, etc).

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Matt (and Duke), Perhaps VW’s brass are still embarrassed by the ‘4 doors, 11 years too late’ tag hung on the 411.

        I find the 411 styling far more attractive than that of the 412. And the 411 was in production much longer and had higher sales.

        The Type IV was a much more modern design from VW. Fully independent suspension on all four corners; trailing wishbone rear suspension and with McPherson struts in front – all sprung with coil springs. Fuel injection. And it was marketed as an ‘upmarket’ vehicle.

        As mentioned the Type IV was superior in design, and engineering to its D3 competitors. And in my opinion to the Japanese vehicles available. And it offered decent levels of interior comfort, as well as space, a high driving/seating position and great visibility.

        However the Type III was far more reliable/robust. And in the squareback offered more than adequate interior capacity.

        In North America both the Type III and IV are now relegated to obscurity. Which is too bad.

        Probably very few Type IV’s left to restore as the engines were most likely removed for 914 projects.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      @Arthur

      The neighbors across the street from us in the early ’70s owned a 411 wagon. The wife, an ER nurse, drove it. The thing I remember about it was the lopey idle (Bosch D-Jet injection).

      The Type 3 was a much better car than the Type 4. I’ve long been fascinated with the Type 3 (okay, and the Type 4).

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I seriously considered an AllTrack a couple years ago because it has the kit I wanted: AWD, manual, sunroof, heated seats, a color and the price seemed reasonable. I ultimately didn’t because I wasn’t sure if I was in the right demographic: 28, single, no kids.

    No the only car, I can think of with all of that is a WRX. I’ve tried getting my mitts on a manual Compass with a sunroof, but they don’t exist closer than 500 miles. Since I’m only browsing right now, I’m not going to ask a dealer to bring one in.

    In 2 years, when my lease is up, it looks like I’m probably keeping my car since there’s nothing else that I’m terribly interested in save the 2 liter Accord Sport 6MT.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      And that’s the problem… new cars just aren’t interesting anymore. I’ve let my subscriptions to both Car and Driver and Road & Track expire. There’s nothing good to read about. If the bulk of the population wants anonymous, connectivity oriented mobility modules, then we all have to take them.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        That’s when you have to roll your own. Hot rodding got started because what you could buy was dull. Back when I first started driving, guys started with a Datsun 510 and made it their own.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      You are overlooking the MINI line-up. My 2018 MINI Countryman S All4 checks all the boxes on your list, and ditto the Clubman, which is more wagony. MINIs these days are more reliable than VWs or Subarus, and vastly more reliable than a Compass!

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Huh. Both MINIs in my circle of friends were financial drains after 60k miles. BMW heritage and all that.

        • 0 avatar
          darex

          The F-series ones are different. I’ve had two, and I had zero trips to the dealership outside of scheduled maintenance. One being nearly 5 years old, the other nearly 2. Your impersonal anecdote does not pertain to the current models.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    There are healthy inventories of these around me. Silk blue AllTrac with brown interior is delicious, as is the green color. I gave serious thought to a SE hatchback this spring, but decided right now just isn’t right time for me to buy a car.

    • 0 avatar
      JRoth

      I’m envious. I’ve been hunting for a blue/not-black interior SE for months; not a single one has shown up within 300 miles of Pittsburgh. I’m really reluctant to buy a new car from a dealer in Connecticut or whatever.

      • 0 avatar
        JRoth

        Actually, seriously, I’m now thinking about going out-of-state to just get this purchase done. Are there good reasons not to? How do I convince a dealer I’m driving 400 miles to get to that I’m not just going to bend over for whatever they care to do?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I’ve never done a long-distance car buy, but I imagine it could be done over the Internet these days. Anyone have any tips?

        • 0 avatar
          Wizerud

          Do everything over email including agreeing a price. Put down a small deposit to reserve it. The only hassle will be figuring out your sales tax as this usually has to be paid in the state you’re registering your vehicle in. Here in NV, I purchased a car in CA and had the dealer cut me a check for the sales tax to hand in when I registered the car in NV. There are various ways of doing it.

          • 0 avatar
            JRoth

            ALSO: What is actually a fair dealer doc fee? I know it’s often a stupid number, but is $200 reasonable? $300? Do I bust them down to $75?

            I actually have 2 dealers, equidistant from me, with all-but-identical cars/price, so I can pit them against each other, but I need to know where the push and pull is.

            I will not pay for underbody coating or $1000 floor mats.

        • 0 avatar
          Wizerud

          This varies so much it’s hard to say but if the fee is $300 or less that is not that bad. Some places will charge $700, some will have it at $75 but either way it’s one of the last things they will negotiate on. It is what it is.

          See how it goes with each dealer and choose whichever one feels right (if any) which might not necessarily be the cheapest one. You’ll figure if either really want your business. If you end up agreeing a price have them send you a fully itemized buyers order or similar so when you get to the dealer it’s sign and go.

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    Part of me thinks that ‘what goes around, comes around’ will still come true. I remember when full-size vans and massive station wagons roamed the streets. Minivans became the craze and took over those markets. Eventually vehicles that were deemed more ‘sporty’ started to supplant the minivans. Then those ‘sporty’ vehicles morphed into what we know today as SUVs and CUVs. (I’m not sure where pickups fit in here. When I was a kid in the early 1970s there is no way I’d have predicted that pickup trucks would one day become leather-lined with four wheel drive and automatic transmissions and used to transport kids to swimming lessons.)

    But… part of me also knows that these kinds of vehicles aren’t likely to ever come back. I’ll probably be alive when we’re all being shuttled about in vehicles that look like the Powell Motors’ “Homer” that is electric and autonomous.

    I’ll be stashing that red Barchetta for my nephew soon…

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The model T type vehicle is now popular again, so sometimes it takes a while. Vehicle with very vertical seats, higher off the ground, big wheels with tiny tires with no sidewalls. Sounds pretty familiar.

  • avatar
    Avanti!

    I have a brand new car and don’t currently need another. But in my looking ahead into the future, the most basic AWD SportWagen I could find would have been my top choice for my second, more practical, vehicle. The price was right, the looks were understated, the power to weight was right as well, and it was the correct size. Will there be something else quite like this 4 – 5 years from now, at this price point? I doubt it.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Probably for the same reason that Ford never imported the Fusion/Mondeo wagon: they make more money on the crossovers. Every Fusion wagon (Sportwagen) that would have sold (sold) is a more-profitable Escape or Explorer (Tiguan or Atlas) that doesn’t sell, and they just can’t let that happen.

  • avatar
    fahma

    VW drove me away from their brand 3 times: 1988 after they continually lied to me and failed to fix my ’86 GT brakes (third new GTI we bought beginning in 1983); 2003 when they failed to correct the poorest-designed headlight assembly in our 2001 new Beetle TDI (bought new), and now with a 2016 Tiguan rear brake problem: they would not determine what caused premature wear after only 37,000 miles and would only perform a full replacement of rotos and pads on left and right sides at $800.
    So apparently VW is not the effen problem: I am, giving them multiple opportunities to hose me.
    So now I need to sell or trade this Tiguan for a Toyota or Honda, sell our 2015 Beetle TDI outright and use the most excellent 2008 Suzuki SX4 from now on, and on the few good summer days here in Michigan, use my Wife’s ’79 SuperBeetle Convertible if she lets me…
    VW: so since the mid-1960’s we’ve owned half a dozen old Beetles, a Squareback, the above-mentioned 3 GTI’s and 2 New Beetles, plus a 2013 New Beetle Convertible TDI they bought back under dieselgate, we’re done with VW. Though we like the way they drive and feel on the road, and they used to be economical to own, we’re done.
    Funny how some of us just take a long time to get their message: VW is really a sadistic company looking for a few good masochists!
    I guess it’s time to find a 1953 Dodge with flathead 6 and three-speed transmission. I can at least fix everything that could go wrong with it, and I’ll never have to deal with a VW Service Department again.

  • avatar
    TooManyCars

    Not surprising. The Alltrack was on my short list when car shopping in July of 2018. Great looking wagon – good proportions, great colours. Drove one thoroughly and had a lot of time to crawl around one in the showroom.

    Two things turned me off: the 1.8 turbo is only adequate with the auto transmission. Coming from a grossly underpowered 4Runner, I wanted a little more punch. The other deal breaker was the quality of the interior materials. Flimsy switch gear, hard plastics that didn’t fit very well, things that appeared ready to fall off. The German-made Golf R in the showroom was of far better quality.

    Too bad. The dealer had new 16’s and was ripe for a ridiculous offer.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Handsome looking wagon, great colors, great looking interior, and I gave it a chance by test driving a 6MT, but that engine felt taxed even with only me driving. I would give this car a strong contention if it came with the GTI mill.

    I am sorry to see it go. Residents of Vermont must be devastated.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    Dang. Both of these were strong contenders as a replacement for our Ford FiST.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    I probably would not get VW wagen, but it’s sad to see a credible car with a manual transmission get discontinued.

    Today’s cars, objectively, are very competent. And very bland, boring, and similar.

    Car and Driver had a cover story recently, “25 Future Cars worth waiting for”; it would have been more appropriate to say, “25 Reasons to cancel your C/D subscription”

    This months episode compares hatchbacks with manual transmissions. All of them, even the slowest one, the VW Golf 1.4 Turbo, are a lot quicker than my 100 hp 86 GTI. They all use less fuel in the C/D test (though in the real world, I think my 2200 lb car would get better mpg). I’d consider some of them—too bad none of them are “domestic” nameplates.

    When the pendulum swings to fuel-efficient cars (and I believe it will), the Asians, who continue to make them for the rest of the world, where gasoline is $6-10 per gallon, will consolidate their control of the US market, and the Detroit three will need another bailout.

  • avatar
    brettc

    A sad day. But we should be happy that it took VW so long to come up with competitive vehicles like the Atlas and the MQB Tiguan. Their slowness on SUVs that actually sell allowed the wagons to continue to exist for as long as they have. Once the diesel option went away, so did wagon demand.

    I never would have bought my 2012 with a 2.5 in it, and I know it was the same for a lot of other buyers. I used to see a bunch of TDI Jetta wagons on the road, but since the buybacks became a thing, all I really see now is the rare old gas wagon and the occasional Alltrack or Sportwagen.

    Oh well, at least the GTI and R will still exist. I wonder if VW will pull a Ford and offer a Tiguan or Atlas GTI.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve203

      “I used to see a bunch of TDI Jetta wagons on the road, but since the buybacks became a thing, all I really see now is the rare old gas wagon and the occasional Alltrack or Sportwagen.”

      I also have a Jetta wagon with the 2.5, a 2014. It has become so routine for people to see the car and immediately ask if it’s a diesel that when I had it in the daily driver class at an all German brand show a few weeks ago, under “unique features” on the card, I wrote “it is NOT a diesel”.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      What a lot of people may not realize is that GTI is already a sub-brand label in the rest of the world. The Golf GTI is the only one we get in North America, but the Polo GTI and Up GTI exist as well elsewhere.

      So slapping GTI on a crossover the way Ford ruined the ST brand isn’t out of the question. But it would probably poison the label in the US.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    So, I guess I can quit (foolishly) wishing for a GTI wagon?

  • avatar
    Pianoboy57

    A dark day indeed, It was a dark day actually in the evening when my 2010 Sportwagen TDI went away. I hope the next dark day isn’t when they do away with the Subaru Outback. I see Passat wagons on my local CL regularly but after the repair costs on my 02′ Passat sedan I don’t think I want to take that plunge again. I turned down an ’06 Volvo V70 I think due to bad reviews and high repair costs.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Looks like I’m holding on to my 2014 Jetta SW (diesel, with 6-speed manual) for as long as I can. Maybe a used 2019 will pop up in four or five years as a good price. Sad to see the wagon go. Another casualty to the SUV craze…

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I just don’t see the attraction to crossovers. If I was going to buy anything like that, it would be a BOF SUV like a 4Runner. For utility, or maximum people hauling? A minivan (we already have a Sienna). A crossover is about as exciting as a washing machine.

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    I have a 2016 Sportwagen SE that I traded my 2012 Sportwagen tdi in for as soon as dieselgate happened in Sept of 15. We use it mainly as a in town errand runner. I cant think of a better car for that purpose. It is fun to drive, easy to park, and has been very reliable. I understand the desire for suv’s as I have one of those too, a BMW X5 35d. The BMW diesel with its massive torque is amazing for longer trips but for running around in town I take the VW every time.

  • avatar
    readallover

    No problem. We can just wait until they start selling the Skoda version of this when VW begins to import them in a desperate attempt to increase North American sales volume.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    Yeah, the only two new cars on my current “want” list are the VW wagon or the Buick TourX. For the money, the Buick felt like a lot more usable car for me. I have two kids, 15 & 10, and the 15 year old is taller than I am, so back seat space is now something I need to think about more than before. The Buick also felt a lot more powerful and quieter.

    The prices of the VW and the Buick are actually quite close and Buick was offering nearly $10k off of MSRP a few months ago, which made a fairly loaded TourX a $24k car. I should have jumped on it but wasn’t quite ready timing-wise.

    The VW’s theoretical availability with a manual transmission was tempting, though. The dealers near me in Michigan never seem to have manuals in stock and I wasn’t about to pay MSRP and have them order one for me. When I drove the Golf Sportwagon, I was actually not all that impressed by the interior materials… especially the gray painted plastic all around the instruments and center console… it seemed like it would like really bad after a couple of years. $35k for a car with vinyl seats also seemed a bit absurd.

  • avatar
    focal

    Loosing the TDI was the death for this vehicle. After years and years of waiting for the 4-motion to be built in Mexico for the American market, the wagon launched with a relatively anemic 1.4T. VW was built on the TDI in America and Canada.

    I hope that Canada continues to get the wagon but I highly doubt it. The SUV has taken over.

    I waited 10+ years for a TDI, manual, AWD wagon. The last great manual AWD wagons were the E9x BMW 328i

    • 0 avatar
      stevelovescars

      Yeah, possibly, but to be fair, defrauding consumers and cheating on emissions should have been the death of VW, not just this model.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Everyone selling small diesels in the EU was doing the same thing. The emissions targets were such that not cheating wasn’t viable. It was also the legislators of Europe who created the market for diesel passenger cars in the name of being green before they took it away in the name of being green. I’ll give you killing VW if you’ll give me the heads of fascists who decide what kind of cars are going to be economically acceptable to the market.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Two more manual vehicles to bite the dust.

    Honestly outside sports cars like a Mustang or Miata or GTI, what is left now? Honda Accord? And if you want AWD? Subaru Impreza or Crosstrek? Mazda3 in one trim and body style? Honda Civic.

    Is that really what we’re down to?

    I never honestly thought it would get THIS bad.

    • 0 avatar
      The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

      The entire MINI line offers a manual gearbox, save for the electric models. AWD on the Cooper, Clubman and Countryman as well. The BMW 2 series, as well as the M2, M3, and M4. The FRS/BRZ, the Corolla, Tacoma, Frontier, Canyonrado, Wrangler, Gladiator, G70, Fit, Civic, Accord, Challenger, Camaro, Mustang, 370z, Miata, Mirage, I think you can still get one on the Renegade, base golf, Jetta, gti. The list goes on, look harder.

  • avatar
    Veeg

    I see these a fair bit up here in northern Connecticut. Far less than I see Outback wagons but New England could probably support this vehicle staying around if Volkswagen didn’t have such a horrible reputation.

  • avatar
    bufguy

    I purchase a 2018 Alltrack SE last August for about $6000 off sticker. I wanted a manual transmission and a color!…green, red, blue..I just did not want black, white silver or grey. The dealership checked all over western and upstate NY and the only car they could find was a silk blue one with DSG, not manual. I traded my BMW x3 in for it and I love it. So far I have tuned it…added 74 hp to the 1.8 turbo engine, put a free flow exhaust, a homelink auto dim mirror, 18′ BBS wheels and various small accessories. The car is quick, handles well is very attractive and fun to drive. I even like the quick shifts of the DSG, especially compared to a colleagues CVT equipped Outback. It now sits in the garage with my 1981 Scirocco S and 2007 BMW Z4 coupe both with manual transmissions.


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