The station wagon repackaged

Fourteen years is minuscule compared to the age of the earth. But its a lot in car years. And dog years too. So the first car-based SUVs which appeared in the late-nineties were just that – station wagons made to look like SUVs.


The archetypical crossover – The Mitsubishi Outlander

The Toyota RAV4, the Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape, all looked quite truckish – in a good way. For the purpose of semantics, I will call the truckish-SUVs mini-SUVS and the station-wagon-ish ones cross-overs. During the 1st few years of the truck-let boom, most of these specimens looked like … well … trucklets. By that, I mean big ground clearance, big wheels, a full size spare on the tailgate, an upright greenhouse.

The original mini SUV – The Toyota RAV4

With more water under the bridge, consumers have become acclimatized to the idea of a mini-SUV / crossover that does not look like a SUV. So these mini-SUVs have morphed into crossovers. For e.g. the Escape, RAV4, CR-V. Or some of the late entrants did not bother with the truck-let styling. They directly got into the crossover act. For example, the Mitsubishi Outlander or the Nissan Rogue are prime examples.

Crossovers morphing back towards station-wagons – the BMW X1

So you must be wondering … what’s the point of this post? So before you know it, the station-wagons which people avoided like the plague, have reappeared in people’s drive-ways, repackaged as crossovers. Imagine taking a station-wagon, jack it up by a few inches, add some black cladding a la Audi Allroad and Voila!  you have a crossover and a guaranteed seller. In the never-ending quest for efficiency, auto-makers will end up lowering the cross-over till they approach station-wagon altitude. You already have started seeing that in the BMW X1.

How’s that for your first lesson in Buyer Psychology 101.
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