Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the passing of two of the better (also only) wagons still on the American market: the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen and its slightly lifted, Subaru-fighting sibling, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. There is no mystery as to the cause of death. It is the crossover.
Today Volkswagen announced that production of both vehicles will come to an end this year, with the last Alltrack rolling off the Puebla, Mexico assembly line in December.
Now, this isn’t entirely unexpected—after all, a brand new eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf is on its way very soon, so eventually these wagons would have been replaced by variants of that car. And they probably will in Europe and other places where people buy wagons.
Over the past several years, demand among American consumers has shifted from wagons to SUVs. Through the first half of 2019, SUVs account for 47 percent of the industry sales, and more than 50 percent of Volkswagen sales. Thanks to strong sales of the Atlas and Tiguan, Volkswagen has had the highest year-over-year percentage growth among mainstream automotive brands in the first six months of 2019.
[...] “SUVs have definitely assumed the mantle of family haulers from the station wagons and minivans we remember from our childhoods,” said Scott Keogh President and CEO, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “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.”
None of this is especially surprising. Sales of the Golf wagons are a mere fraction of the business the Atlas and Tiguan are doing. And since VW is initiating a transition to EVs perhaps bigger than any current established automaker, it needs to cut costs to pay for that. Hence, these models get the axe.
But it is a shame. We found the Golf wagons to be practical, stylish and punchy cars, and while they never packed the same thrills as a GTI, they were fun to drive—and could even be had with manual gearboxes, another thing that’s pretty clearly on the way out.
At least they’re still great used values.