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Do Convertibles Still Stand a Chance?

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On: Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 11:54AM | By: Elizabeth Puckett

Do Convertibles Still Stand a Chance?

Summer is in full swing and it is prime season for convertible owners to be out in full force with their tops let back—so where are they? The truth is, there are fewer convertibles on the road now than ever and recent nose dives in sales are to blame. Over the last decade, sales of convertible models have dropped by an astounding 50%. Could this be the end of the convertible? Or are we just in a holding pattern until new models spark the interest of drivers again?

During the recession, it seems like convertibles were hit the hardest of all models in the auto industry. Sales of these models hit their all-time low in 2010; during 2010, sales trickled in at only 1/3 of the pre-recession numbers.

Convertibles were seen as fun vehicles, but ultimately frivolous and non-functional. These models are also far from being popular among those looking for family cars or a car for a teen driver.

With the industry on a major rebound, people are starting to spend on items they cut back on during the crash. The sales of luxury vehicles, like the Cadillac, are on the rise. Likewise, in the retail industry, people are more willing to spend money on high-end items like handbags and jewelry.

There’s also quite a gap in the convertible market right now that could be leading to the poor sales. Both Saab and Pontiac were lost to the recession and their popular ragtop models disappeared from the car lot.

Some newly redesigned models with convertible options could have people driving with their tops let back once again. The new 2014 Corvette recently got a facelift and impressive improvements upon the fuel economy. Next year, the 50th anniversary of the Mustang Convertible could spark a hike in sales as well. The upcoming Alfa Romero Spider convertible is also causing a stir among consumers.

Other brands are likely to bring some meat to the feast, but speculation is the only source at this point. Chrysler could actually be a major factor in the revival of the convertible.

IHS Automotive seems pretty optimistic about the comeback of the convertible; they are predicting a major rebound for these models. The company, which predicts trends and forecasts in the industry, is expecting that over the next few years, convertible sales will account for around 2% of all auto sales; currently, convertible sales account for only 1.2% of sales.

Experts at IHS Automotive expect to see some models that fell to the wayside during the recession making comebacks. Of course, with the exception of those which fall under brands that disappeared.


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