Judging from the sales of sports wagons and the abundance of new crossover models, it looks like an all-out race has developed to capture the market that is leaving minivans and SUVs, according to a report by SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Manufacturing Association. In 2004, sales of sport wagons in the U.S. rose 18 percent in a year when car sales dropped 1.5 percent and SUV sales fell 2.6 percent, according to the SEMA report. The list of sport wagons available in the marketplace just keeps growing. Last year alone, five vehicles entered the segment-the Chevrolet Equinox, the Hyundai Tucson, the Ford Freestyle, the Mercury Mariner and the BMW X3. The 2005 Detroit Auto Show saw 11 new sport wagons introduced, including a very boxy sport wagon concept from Ford under the name Fairlane. Japanese OEMs, on the other hand, are showing concepts that are more about curves than flat surfaces. SEMA surveyed consumers on sport wagons. Results indicated that, while a small percent of automotive enthusiasts currently own a sport wagon, more that a third indicated that they would consider one for their next vehicle purchase.
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