Despite weak sales, the sun is not setting on convertibles.
But the ragtop’s role could be changing -- dwindling further from being the car of choice for daily transport for a small fragment of drivers -- to being a second or third vehicle, a toy to play with on sunny days. And that convertible may not be the traditional two-door car it has always been.
Consider that the best-selling convertible in the industry today isn’t a car, it’s an SUV, the Jeep Wrangler.
Sales of convertible cars in 2016 skidded into being little more than a statistical rounding error. Example: Buick Cascada racked up 367 units sold in November. The Mazda MX-5 Miata, 387, the Fiat Spider sold 350, the Jaguar F-Type, 269. Chevrolet and Ford don’t break out sales for the convertible versions of the Camaro, Corvette and Mustang, but sales of all three sports cars were just over 13,000 units. Even if half were convertibles, the number sold still would be small compared with other niches.
According to IHS Markit, sales of convertibles have been skidding since at least 2009 and now account for less than 1 percent of new-car sales.
Haartz Corp., the famous maker of convertible tops -- think of the rich looking cloth tops on classic Mercedes-Benz and other luxury cars -- commissioned a study recently among two groups of consumers, those who own or have ever owned a convertible, and those who would consider buying one.