• Jan 17, 2008
click above for more high-res images of the Holden VE Sportwagon

Holden wasn't sure if it was going to build a new VE Commodore Wagon when developing its new line of rear-wheel-drive Zeta-based sedans. Wagons are fleet darlings in Australia, and the new one from Holden was for some reason switched from the long-wheelbase Caprice and Statesman platform to the shorter Commodore platform. That reduced the wagon's cargo capacity, which in turn threatened its very existence. But after hearing that its parent company, General Motors, was interested in importing the VE Sportwagon as a Pontiac G8 wagon, Holden gave the wagon a green light in good faith that there would be additional sales from exports to offset the loss of fleet sales.

Well, Holden just lost the U.S. market, as Bob Lutz told Australian journalists at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show that the VE Sportwagon, a higher-octane version of the VE Commodore Wagon, would not be coming to America. His reasons include the cost of meeting U.S. regulations and the fact that Yanks don't seem to be interested in wagons at all anymore. Audi, BMW and Mercedes offer them but sell hardly any, while Dodge tried to make the sport wagon mainstream again with the critically-acclaimed Magnum. We all know how that turned out.

We bet that if the Magnum were a hot seller, GM would then have no qualms importing the VE Sportwagon. As it stands, though, without the Magnum, a Pontiac G8 wagon would be competing with Audi, BMW and Mercedes wagons for a small slice of this very niche segment's sales.

[Source: Goauto.com via GMInsideNews]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 50 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      As much as I hate to admit it, Bob is right on this one. (Not that I think Bob is often wrong, I just wish he was in this case).

      Wagons in America are dead. Its a crying shame, since they're awesome cars that do everything 95% of SUV buyers want their SUVs to do, while getting better performance and economy. Most wagons also look hot, especially the sporty ones. RS4 Avant? Legacy Spec-B Wagon? Etc.

      Personally, I blame Clark Griswold and his ill-fated road trips for the modern anti-wagon stance.

      Same thing goes for hatchbacks. We don't get the nice hatches here for the same reason we don't get the nice wagons here: for some ungodly reason Americans equate anything with a hatch to cheapness, dowdiness, and/or low social status. Of course they're really just practical as all hell.

      Maybe someday, things will change. Maybe CAFE standards and the EPA will crack down on SUVs so hard that manufacturers cant afford to keep all but the most work-oriented models in their lineups. Maybe then we will see the return of the wagon to mainstream car culture.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Eisenfaust is right on the target with the image of Clark Griswood (Chevy Chase) driving the Ford Country-Squire customized "Truckster" in "National Lampoon's Vacation". Some wagons are now plagued by this "curse" bring by this movie. I wonder if a remake of this movie featuring a CUV/SUV as the "truckster" to bring the pendulum on the middle again?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Again this is one of the many reasons why I hate domestic companies. As usual Bob is playing politics instead of really thinking of the consumers who might actually like these and for this platform to make a possible comeback to finally drown out the remaining SUV's.

      Hasn't he taken into consideration that maybe the import sport wagons are just too expensive for most middle class workers living on a fixed income or that Dodge just plain makes ugly vehicles, especially with that ugly crosshair grille dressed up with bling, which they use on everything they make?

      The SUV craze is dying and a lot are still not completely taking a liking to crossovers. This would be a good in between. If he had ANY balls he could at least try it for a year to see weather it makes or breaks instead of making excuses.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Just as I got dissapointed the G35 wagon ended up being the EX35, and the CTS might not get a waggon either - i was looking at this G8 wagon as top of my list, now they cancel it.

      Guess the 328i wagon might have to be the way to go.

      sorry no FWD-AWD conversions for me - so Volvo and such are not on the list.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm all about the G8, and the G8 "Truck" they said they are bring here. but the wagon would sell more the the G8 "truck" i think (forgot what its name will be here?). dont get me wrong, i'd like to see all three of them here, but of the 3, i think the sedan and wagon would have greater sales longer. i just dont see the ute keeping a sales pace, it's probably a fickle market for the ute.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Boo. Well, now I know not to bother waiting for that CTS wagon. If GM thinks Americans don't want wagons, we aren't going to see a CTS one either.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yeah, I want an AWD CTS wagon with the 4.5L duramax. Would really like an manual-6 to go with that, but I guess a six-speed automatic would do.

        They had better be showing a CTS wagon in Chicago or I'm gonna be very unhappy.
        • 7 Years Ago
        GM already thinks they make a CTS Wagon, they call it an SRX. Haven't you gotten the memo? Crossovers are in baby! Never mind the high CG, poor aerodynamics and weird proportions, they're the thing. FEH!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Stupid Americans.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is too bad....I would have been banging the dealer's doors down to trade my Mazda6 wagon for this!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      We have an Audi Allroad (based on the A6 avant) that my wife has used for quite a few years now - handles everything from jobsites (she's an engineer) to black tie affairs with aplomb. We'd actually looked at the option of replacing it with a G8 wagon... ah, well. The additional cargo space is fantastic for dogs, projects, &c, and we don't have any need to seat more than 5 people, but no longer need the offroad ability on a regular enough basis to justify it for a daily driver.

      One wagon missed on some of the previous lists, btw, is the A3 Avant. It actually has most back seat room than the A4, and a surprisingly large carrying capacity.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No new Mazda6 wagon for the states and now this. I can't buy what they don't sell so I guess I'm stuck looking at the Saab, Volvo, and VW wagons. Not that there's anything wrong with these brands, I was just looking forward to a large RWD wagon. At least the VW will be offered with a diesel.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well, I guess I'm keeping my car a while longer...curse you GM!
        • 7 Years Ago
        I own a Mercedes E320 wagon and LOVE it. Large, RWD, excellent ride, and a real steal in price because no one else seems to want them. Plus, with the seats down, it is nearly 70 cubic feet of storage. I drive from Tuscaloosa, AL (home of Mercedes USA) to Michigan and back every month or two, and get 30mpg (honest measurement) on the highway with the 3.2 liter V6.

        Just another option for you to consider, especially since it is 1) safer 2) better built and 3) much more refined than the VWs and Volvos, which I still love.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Thanks to all for the suggestions.

        I have yet to test drive a Magnum although I have driven a Charger and thought it was alright, I'll have to give the Magnum a more serious look. I secretly lust after some of the Estates and Tourings that the German manufacturers offer. The only downside is the relatively high cost of maintenance (even routine maintenance) over the life of the vehicle. I really enjoyed the Legacy Wagon (before it was discontinued for the states) and don't need the extra ground clearance or stylistic "flair" of the Legacy Outback Wagon.

        There are a host of crossovers presently available but I'll likely take a look at the Magnum if I can find one I like before they disappear from dealer lots. I may also take a look on the pre-owned market to look for a BMW 5-wagon or Mercedes E-wagon which I also like but have never found a decent, low-mileage vehicle. For some reason, the folks who buy the estates and tourings tend to drive them til the wheels fall off.

        I'm sure it is just a matter of time before one of the automakers releases a handsome, sporty, functional wagon with good driving dynamics, reasonable space/packaging/utility, and preferably good fuel economy. I guess the better question to ask is how long am I willing to wait for such a vehicle to make it to market or what am I willing to compromise on to get another vehicle in the short term.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well, there's the Legacy/Outback and upcoming Toyota Venza. But yes, this is sort of sad.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You can thank CAFE for this.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Since when does CAFE have an effect on sales in Australia?
        Yes, this vehicle was supposed to have a G8 counterpart, but as Autoblog pointed out: the wagon variant was popular among fleet directors, not your typical Australian.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No market for wagons? Subaru has made a name for themselves with a useful, well-built, well-priced option.

      Car makers said the same thing about building quality small cars, and look at the MINI/A3/1-series/etc... that are getting such great attention.

      It is too bad; this car is nice-looking. I agree that the market for a quality, mid-level wagon could be there, if they made them with better fit and finish, and at a reasonable price.
        • 7 Years Ago
        They only cancelled the Legacy GT wagon. You'll still see plenty of Legacy Outback wagons.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Outback is *NOT* the same thing. I drive a Legacy GT Wagon, which I'm going to keep for a long time because Subaru has abandoned me and it's a damned good car. I'm not tempted to buy something different, but I would likely have upgraded to a newer model MUCH sooner if Subaru offered it than I will move to another manufacturer.

        The Outback is long-legged with weird handling and ride compared to my Legacy. Yeah, the XT has the same engine, but I don't need the damned car to be jacked up in the air, I'd buy a truck if I wanted one. This attitude of "Crossovers will be all things to all people" pisses me off!
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is GORGEOUS compared to the rather hideous Magnum.

      It's a shame, really. Was really looking forward to this product. Hope GM reconsiders (perhaps so if G8 sedan takes off)...
        • 7 Years Ago
        There were some previous pics here on AutoBlog that showed other angles - tons of cargo space available, like most modern wagons.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It looks great, but where's the cargo space?

        Judging from the picture here, it looks like a 1991 Ford Escort wagon has more cargo space behind the rear seats. This looks more like a hatchback than a wagon.
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