All across America, droptop dreams are dying.
During the last recession, many car buyers turned away from convertibles, swapping the thrill of the open air for a fixed roof and a few thousand dollars in their wallets.
But while the economy has recovered somewhat, the convertible market is still stuck in a downdraft. Amid slow sales, automakers have been reluctant to invest in developing convertibles. Consumers, in turn, have found fewer products to tempt them in the showroom.
Last year, barely 1 percent of new vehicles registered in the United States were convertibles, down from 1.4 percent in 2009 and 2 percent in 2006, according to data gathered by R.L. Polk & Co. Buyers registered 151,636 convertibles last year, half as many as before the recession.
Even in Sunnyvale, Calif., a Silicon Valley city where times are good, shoppers have plenty of disposable income and the sun shines a respectable 260 days a year, dealer Dietmar Burkhardt is having trouble getting customers interested.
Burkhardt, 45, who used to sell about 35 convertibles a month at his family's Saab store, says the baby boomers who bought those cars have moved on to luxury sedans, with few younger buyers to replace them.