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Wagon countries, show of hands

This morning, the following print ad for Audi maintenance services struck me as interesting:

Illustration for article titled Wagon countries, show of hands
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It is a play on every service deal being tailored to every new car, just as the new cars are being special ordered by their owners. In Norway, buying a new car necessarily means you order and get just what you want - and so the service should be tailored, too.

But, behold, why of all cars in their lineup do they show a wagon? Is this the most desirable car?

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According to a presentation of the statistics office (OFV) from last week, it is not anymore:

Illustration for article titled Wagon countries, show of hands
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Station wagons (“STV”) have lost market share from about 35% of all sold vehicles - except for commercial trucks and busses - to just above 20% within the decade to 2016. It’s almost cut in half. Both the new shape leader - the hatchback or “KOMBI” - and SUVs have been going through a remarkable rise in market share. The only bump on the SUV’s ascendance was a redoing of car sales taxing in 2007, harshly punishing weight, CO2 emissions and displacement.

So why is Audi still playing on their wagons first, instead of, say a random Q-and-a-number-SUV-that-no-one-can-tell-apart-from-another-Q-and-a-number-SUV?

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Wagons are still being perceived as the most “correct” family car, with the taxation and media environment for SUVs being incredibly hostile. I’ve never seen anyone buying an SUV who didn’t come up with a sort of excuse for it first, even though buying one is an unmistakable statement that you’ve made it. Audi may sell almost no A6 sedans, and the Volvo V70 remains part of the concept of establishement: “Villa, Volvo, voff”, the 3 v’s for a house, an implicated wagon, and a dog. Yet, Volvo is a distant third in the market now, while being the market leader for four wheel drive* - go figure.

So even if SUVs have taken over as the car for the established, and hatchbacks have become the staple of A to B movement, a perception of the wagon as the car remains. Now, who else is experiencing this in their homeland? Is anyone able to show us a true, remaining holdout - a real wagon country?

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(Interested in a show of sales by make for Norway in 2015? Click here.)

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