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Where are all the station wagons?

Published May 24, 2012

I had dinner with Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director for Jaguar Land Rover the other night.

Among other things, we talked about station wagons – “Estate Cars” in his part of the world.

Or, on occasion, “Shooting Brakes.”

XF Sportbrake 2Jaguar showed the “Sportbrake”, based on the XF sedan, just prior to the Geneva Auto Show this past March.

Who would not want to own such a gorgeous vehicle?

Especially when it is so practical (all that space); so luxurious (it IS a Jaguar, after all); which handles and performs so well (ditto); and which will also be remarkably thrifty (2.2 or 3.0 litre Diesel engines, fitted to which will be an eight-speed automatic transmission)?

Well, North Americans, it seems.

Hallmark says that some eighty percent of station wagons world-wide are sold in Western Europe and the United Kingdom.

“Canada isn’t bad for wagons, as International markets go,” he said. “But the United States, China, Japan? Not so much.”

And because the Yanks just don’t get station wagons, we will not be allowed to enjoy this spectacular car either.

What is it with Yanks and Wagons? Do they still associate them with the sort of vehicle your brother-in-law would borrow to move his beer fridge?

The MacTac-bedecked barges Chevy Chase drove his family to Wally World in?

Come on, people.

Look at this shot:

Jetta Wagon twins

OK, not a gret apic – the best I could do with my iPhone.

But it shows our 2003 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Wagon (right) back-to-back with my daughter’s nearly identical (2004 gasoline) car, as her husband swaps tires for my son’s Corolla from one to the other.

Again, who wouldn’t want a compact wagon like these? All the room you’d need for about 80 per cent of what you’d ever need to carry. Room for four, five in a pinch. Rides and drives beautifully.

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