Why Won't Automakers Call Wagons Wagons?

Illustration for article titled Why Wont Automakers Call Wagons Wagons?

I'm a big fan of station wagons, and we've talked about here before — where the name came from, what defines one — but what's really baffling is the continual refusal of so many car makers to just call a wagon a wagon. I even made a chart!


The idea to make this little chart came this morning when we wrote about VW's new Passat wagon, which they're calling the Passat Variant. VW's been calling wagons "Variants" for years, which made me realize how many other companies do this, too.


There's some exceptions — Mercedes and Cadillac, for example, call their wagons "wagons," even if they sometimes stick some letters and numbers and crap all around them. Good for them.

A little bit of research and I found non-wagon-name after non-wagon-name. I know I didn't get them all, but there's a good sample there. And, I should clarify the criteria:

Basically, I took a name as an alternative to "wagon" if the wagon in question was clearly a variation on an existing car and not a totally unique model. That's how we get the Fiat 500 Giardineria and the Volvo PV544 Duett, for example. I'm also not including variations on the basic word "wagon" in different languages — 'estate' for British English, and 'Break' for French. Unless they add "Sport" to the name. I included those because it's funny how often that comes up.


If anyone thinks of any other good ones, stick them in the comments!

Illustration for article titled Why Wont Automakers Call Wagons Wagons?

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Mercedes has it right.

Also, I would argue that BMW is ok because they still have "Wagon" in the name.

The CTS is actually a Sport Wagon just like the BMW.

Audi does call the Allroad (allroad?) a wagon on their website.

As does VW with their website.

I'm sure there are more examples; these are just the websites I checked.

As for those never sold in the US, they have no reason to call them "wagons" because in England they're called "estates" and the rest of Europe doesn't speak english and therefore has different words for such vehicles. You might as well be asking why the term "sedan" isn't used on every model of car that fits the description outside the US.