To the Editor:
I would not use the name "station wagon" to characterize the new crop of crossovers, as Keith Crain suggested in his March 24 column ("By any name, it's a station wagon").
To do so gives some automotive planners permission to believe unwisely that they can return to a time that has come and gone.
Many of today's crossovers are not like the station wagons that we all knew in the 1950s or that we see on the roads in Europe today.
Would you call the Infiniti FX45 or Nissan Murano a station wagon? Today's buyers have quite a different experience and different expectations as they contemplate their next purchase.
The needs of the American buyer have been deeply influenced by the SUV. The success of the SUV can be explained by its numerous emotional benefits, such as safety, security, freedom, being in control, and even fun and excitement all in one vehicle.
The appeal runs the gamut from young, single males to middle-aged moms with kids. Those who don't go off road can present the illusion that they do. Minivans and station wagons never did and never will do that.
As automotive evolution moves forward, companies are studying a variety of hybrids in the hope of creating the next segment buster. Some of those combinations will succeed, and some will not.
Those that succeed will refine the emotional benefits expected by buyers. Those that don't will be based on the thinking that we have made a complete circle and are back to where we started.
If you do not like "crossover" or "sport wagon," what about "capable car"?