Mercedes Ready to Drop Station Wagons
It seems like enthusiasts are the only ones who still like station wagons. Those who have them love them. But it also seems that enthusiasts aren’t in a position to buy new station wagons. And that is one of the reasons why Mercedes is considering dropping its estate wagons-what we call station wagons here.
“As for Mercedes estate cars, we have to see”
But now Mercedes’ chief operating officer Markus Schafer said that as for “estate cars, we have to see.” He went on to tell Autocar, “This market is under pressure as more and more customers move to SUVs, and there are just a few markets left for estates and station wagons. So we have to see how the volumes are developing.
“They’re technically absolutely possible-that wouldn’t be a problem. But it’s more a question of how this niche is developing. I know the UK is a great market for station wagons.”
As in other countries, wagons are being supplanted by SUVs, in spite of what Schafer says about the UK. In the US, Mercedes sells its wagon in the midsize E-Class. That comes out to either the E450 All-Terrain wagon, which is a slightly lifted, cladded version of its regular wagon. And the AMG E63 S, which could be the highest wagon in the station wagon pecking order.
Mercedes is slowly cutting convertibles and coupes-are station wagons next?
But as Mercedes is spending money developing its electric alternatives, it is slowly cutting out body styles and models. Cabriolets and coupes are both being slashed. “We have to recognize that the demand for cabriolets is dropping around the world,” Schafer said. “China is not a roadster-covering market, and there are fewer buyers in Europe who decide on a cabriolet, compared to some years ago.
“It’s not that easy to build a good-looking cabriolet (as an EV). It is an engineering effort. It’s quite a job and a task to keep it in nice proportions and not to lift it too high, with a big battery underneath it. There are some cars out in the market that would not meet our tastes. So we will come up with something better.”
Developments in power and aerodynamics make SUVs more economical
As the popularity of SUVs increases, so does efficiency. That is another feather in the SUV’s cap. Before, being truck-based, the heavier body-on-frame indestructibility of Chevy Suburbans and Dodge Power Wagons also contributed to fuel consumption.
As electrification and aerodynamics are refined, the SUV is coming out with surprising economy. Especially in an EV form. But just like the convertible in the 1970s, while the station wagon may fade away, it might also find new popularity. Some day.