There's this vicious rumor going around that says Americans won't buy diesel wagons, especially ones with manual transmissions. You see it on twitter, on forums and even our own comments. You're all wrong, so shut up. Diesel manual wagons are more popular than you'd think.
This concept, that Americans won't buy good cars, surfaced again along with the reveal of the Golf SportWagen TDI 4Motion Concept and it's beautiful, gorgeous, lovely manual transmission.
Many of us were excited, but a few of you had to remind us that, unlike Europeans, us yanks tend to buy the automatic gas-powered sedan version of everything. Diesels? Never going to sell here. Manuals? Get out! Wagons? You must be high.
Alas, these theories are great until you actually look at the fucking numbers, numbnuts.
Last year Volkswagen sold 22,534 Jetta SportWagens. Granted, that's not a lot compared to the thousands of Toyota Camry sedans and Ford Fusions people buy, but it's a lot more than you think. More people drink Mountain Dew than Ommegang Abbey Ale, but that doesn't make the latter unpopular and I'd sure as hell rather drink it.
For a point of comparison, Volvo sold just 1,361 C30s in 2013. Ok, but what about a car that people are still buying? Jetta wagons outsold the Porsche 911, Mini Paceman, and Porsche Panamera. COMBINED. It's also not that far off from the Prius V (34,989 in 2013), its closest competition.
Still, you might say, that includes automatic and non-diesel models, which is true. But most of those cars (about 17,300) are diesel. Volkswagen sells almost four times as many diesel wagons as Honda sells CRZs.
Let's continue to break it down though with manual diesels. In total, Volkswagen sold 3,720 manual diesel station wagons last year. That's more than Nissan sells of the GT-R, Mini sells of their Coupe, and more than Bentley sells of every single car in the lineup in America.
They're nowhere close to Honda Civic numbers (336,180), but they're not as niche as many people pretend they are. Look at it this way, they're a lot less rare than Kardashians, and we talk about them constantly for no obvious reason.
So, yeah, I'm not saying they're the captain-of-the-football-team-who-also-is-pretty-cool-and-totally-supports-the-drama-department level of popular, but the Jetta Sportwagen is at the very least debate-club-secretary-whose-dad-doesn't-care-if-you-drink-his-scotch noteworthy.
Here are the 2013 sales, so you can compare them to other cars on the road:
- Auto/Diesel: 13676
- Auto/Gas: 4746
- Manual/Diesel: 3720
- Manual/Gas: 392