SEMA eNews Vol. 10, No. 20, May 17, 2007

HARDTOP CONVERTIBLES—HOT NEW TREND?

Although convertible hardtops have been around for some time, this past year has seen a huge influx of less expensive niche models with folding hardtops, according to a recent AutoWeek article. The article states, as hardtop convertible variants were introduced on vehicles, such as the Volvo C70, Pontiac G6, Volkswagen Eos, Chrysler Sebring, Mazda MX-5 and BMW 3 Series, automakers pushed their benefits: protection from the weather and theft, a quieter ride and even better body stiffness. Automakers are saying that these convertibles are selling well, perhaps signaling a growing trend for convertible hardtops.

Volkswagen says that its Eos, the automakers convertible hardtop-only model, which went on sale last fall, just posted its best month in April and is on track to meet its target of 12,000–13,000, reports AutoWeek. Sales of Pontiac’s G6 convertible have exceeded the company’s expectations and have contributed to a 38% sales increase of the G6 during the first quarter of 2007 compared to the same time last year. Mazda has reeled in additional MX-5 buyers by offering its two-seat roadster with a folding hardtop. In April, nearly a third of MX-5 sales were power-retractable hardtop models.

 

Automakers who have been in the market with folding hardtops for several years, such as Lexus with its SC and Cadillac with its XLR, say that the new and less expensive convertible hardtops are only boosting interest in the overall segment.

Source: Gritzinger, Bob and Wong, Jonathan. (May 9, 2007). “Folding Hardtops Hot: Bargain Convertibles Spark Renewed Interest in Segment.” AutoWeek. Retrieved May 11, 2007 from www.autoweek.com.