Convertible sales fall in U.S. amid popularity of EVs, SUVs

2024 Ford Mustang

Source: Ford

Convertibles — as soon as an indication of open-air freedom, highway journeys and summer season adventures — are fading away because the auto trade shifts to all-electric automobiles and extra rugged sport utility autos.

Sales of conventional drop-tops such because the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, in addition to roadsters such because the Mazda Miata, have plummeted in the U.S. to fewer than 100,000 autos yearly, based on S&P Global Mobility. That’s down from a current peak of practically 320,000 autos, or 2% of all new U.S. automobile sales, in 2006, and roughly 144,200, or 0.8%, in 2015.

Reasons for the decline of convertibles embrace practicality, sturdiness, price will increase, and new panoramic sunroofs and glass tops, based on consultants. Automakers are additionally investing capital in off-road fashions and electrical autos.

“The trajectory has been down and there just isn’t as strong of a consumer interest,” mentioned Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst at S&P Global Mobility. “In the transition to electric vehicles, and where do automakers put their development money, it just isn’t going to convertibles.”

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor


Including SUVs which might be thought-about convertibles by federal security requirements, such because the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco, would not assist sales an excessive amount of. Even counting these autos, sales final 12 months had been down by 26% since 2015. They had been off 21% from then till 2019, which is the final 12 months the automotive trade wasn’t experiencing important manufacturing or provide chain disruptions.

The decline in sales has occurred amid a drop in the quantity of convertibles and roadsters — two-seat autos with drop-tops or detachable roofs — from 29 fashions in 2011 to 23 fashions in 2019. But many present autos are high-end or low-volume fashions from tremendous premium automakers comparable to Ferrari, Lamborghini, and different luxurious carmakers.

J.D. Power reviews convertibles have represented 28% of the tremendous premium autos to this point this 12 months whereas representing solely 0.5% of the U.S. auto trade general, together with 0.3% of mainstream autos.

Discontinued fashions from extra mainstream manufacturers for the reason that 2000s have included:

  • Chrysler Sebring, PT Cruiser and 200
  • Pontiac G6
  • Nissan Murano
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • Toyota Camry
  • Smart ForTwo
  • Buick Cascada

Haartz Corp. — the worldwide chief in supplies for soft-top convertibles — reviews its sales have recovered to pre-pandemic ranges, however the downward development in soft-top continues globally, not simply in the U.S.

“What we’re seeing right now is electrification is taking away, even more, from the convertible world,” mentioned Phil Hollenbeck, planning supervisor at Haartz.

2016 Beetle Dune

Credit: © Copyright Volkswagen of America, Inc.

The Massachusetts-based provider, which is celebrating its centennial, developed its first “synthetic fiber topping” for automobiles in 1922.

In the early days of the automotive trade, practically all automobiles had been open-air autos or convertibles. Hardtop autos had been launched as a premium choice — a development that has switched in fashionable instances. For instance, the 2022 Ford Mustang hardtop begins at $27,470. The convertible model begins at about $33,000.

J.D. Power reviews the typical price of a convertible has risen from about $45,000 in 2011 to $70,400 in 2021. For 2022, amid provide chain issues resulting in greater costs, that has ballooned to $79,200. That makes SUVs such because the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco among the many least costly, most accessible choices.

“Bronco and Wrangler combined outsell all convertibles 5:1 and both start in the $30,000s, which make them among the cheapest ways to enjoy the open top experience,” mentioned Tyson Jominy, vp of knowledge and analytics at J.D. Power. “With SUVs 59% of retail sales in 2022, these two may be the face of convertibles in the future.”

The top-selling convertibles over the previous two years have included the Chevrolet Corvette, Mazda MX-5, BMW 4 Series and the Ford Mustang, based on J.D. Power.

Jim Owens, head of Ford Mustang advertising and marketing, mentioned solely about 15% of the automotive’s sales to shoppers — 72,500 models in 2019 — are convertibles. He mentioned demand has slowly been declining. However, there’s nonetheless a “predominant” demand in rental automotive fleets.

Polestar O2 electrical roadster idea

Source: Polestar

Aside from rental automobiles and SUVs, there may be nonetheless some hope for brand spanking new convertible and roadster fashions in the approaching years, together with EVs. Ford final week unveiled a Mustang convertible as half of the seventh-generation automotive. Tesla has pledged to deliver a brand new roadster to market. EV startup Polestar plans to provide an electrical convertible.

S&P Global Mobility forecasts sales of convertibles and roadsters to extend to about 82,000 autos in 2024 and 2025, earlier than as soon as once more falling to underneath 70,000 models by the top of this decade.

Haartz’s Hollenbeck mentioned as soon as automakers have come out with EVs, they’re going to be on the lookout for methods for the autos to face out — and one will possible be drop-tops.

“We’ll see what the market wants later. Could we see a possible convertible electric Challenger in the future? I don’t see why not,” he mentioned. “I can’t imagine they’re all going to go away. People who are into convertibles love them.”


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