You could guarantee a clamour of customers for them. In the boom times, ruthless success in business was rewarded with a roofless motor.
Not any more. The convertible sector is in decline.
Richard Crosthwaite of EurotaxGlass’s says it’s the worst year he can remember for the convertible and roadster sector, and there is little sign of an upturn on the horizon.
Clearly, the economic climate is having an effect. But it’s when you delve into the specifics that you see just how under threat convertibles now are.
‘We’ve had two poor summers now, there’s higher overall volume than ever before, while the plain lack of second- and third-car purchasing power means there is simply no support out there,’ says Crosthwaite.
Makers are suffering because of this. Bentley reports that sales of its GTC open-top coupe have really come under the cosh, for example. The sunny-weather feel-good factor that opens chequebooks has been almost completely absent.
Proof positive that one-time cash cows now need to be treated with caution. As wallets tighten, so does the rational side of buyers’ thinking. Today, soft tops are soft. Superminis are the place to be…
By RICHARD AUCOCK