When things are bad for the industry at large, they're truly awful for two-seat convertibles. So it was no surprise when Honda announced last week that it will stop building the S2000 in June after a decade of production.
Roadster sales always wane in winter. But for the S2000 — as well as the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky — all of 2008 was an ice age.
The Miata, Solstice, Sky and S2000 were down an average of 30.7 percent for the year, compared with an 18.0 percent decline for the overall industry. And in December, with the industry down 35.6 percent, those diminutive drop-tops were off an average of 62.6 percent from December 2007.
The S2000 was conceived to mark Honda's 50th anniversary. Honda has sold more than 110,000 worldwide since the car's debut in 1999. But U.S. sales tumbled 41 percent to 2,538 last year.
The Honda is in a category that is somewhat different from that of the other three fun cars. It's more lavishly equipped and pricier at $35,665, including shipping. But the four have the same profile: front-engine two-seaters inspired by the great British roadsters of the 1960s, such as the Lotus Elan. Everybody professes to love them. But in a recession, when other vehicles catch pneumonia, those cars contract typhoid fever. What's fun about that?