Convertible sales fall in the United States on the popularity of electric vehicles and SUVs
Ford Mustang 2024
Convertibles – once a sign of outdoor freedom, road trips and summer adventures – are disappearing as the auto industry shifts to fully electric cars and more rugged sport utility vehicles.
Sales of traditional convertibles such as the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, as well as roadsters such as the Mazda Miata, have fallen in the United States to less than 100,000 vehicles per year, according to S&P Global Mobility. That’s down from the recent peak of nearly 320,000 vehicles, or 2% of all new vehicle sales in the United States, in 2006, and about 144,200, or 0.8%, in 2015. .
Reasons for the decline of convertibles include practicality, durability, rising costs and new panoramic sunroofs and glass roofs, experts say. Automakers are also investing capital in off-road models and electric vehicles.
“The trajectory is down and consumer interest just isn’t as strong,” said Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst at S&P Global Mobility. “In the transition to electric vehicles, and where are automakers putting their development money, it’s just not going to convertibles.”
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor
Including SUVs that are considered convertibles under federal safety standards, such as the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco, doesn’t help sales too much. Even counting these vehicles, last year’s sales are down 26% since 2015. They’re down 21% through 2019, which is the last year the auto industry didn’t experience significant disruption. production or supply chain.
The drop in sales came amid a decline in the number of convertibles and roadsters – two-seat vehicles with a sunroof or removable roof – from 29 models in 2011 to 23 models in 2019. But many current vehicles are high-end or low-end. -volume models from super premium car manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and other luxury car manufacturers.
JD Power reports that convertibles have accounted for 28% of super premium vehicles so far this year, while they make up just 0.5% of the entire US auto industry, including 0.3% of vehicles General public.
Discontinued models from more mainstream brands since the 2000s include:
- Chrysler Sebring, PT Cruiser and 200
- Pontiac G6
- Nissan Murano
- Volkswagen Beetle
- Toyota Camry
- Smart ForTwo
- Buick Cascade
Haartz Corp. – the world leader in materials for soft-top convertibles – reports that its sales have recovered to pre-pandemic levels, but the soft-top down trend continues globally, not just in the United States
“What we’re seeing right now is electrification is taking even more of the world off convertibles,” said Phil Hollenbeck, head of planning at Haartz.
2016 Beetle Dune
Credit: © Copyright Volkswagen of America, Inc.
The Massachusetts supplier, which is celebrating its centennial, developed its first “synthetic fiber trim” for cars in 1922.
In the early days of the automobile industry, almost all cars were open-top vehicles or convertibles. Hardtop vehicles were introduced as a premium option – a trend that has changed in modern times. For example, the 2022 Ford Mustang hardtop starts at $27,470. The convertible version starts at around $33,000.
JD Power reports that the average cost of a convertible has risen from around $45,000 in 2011 to $70,400 in 2021. For 2022, amid supply chain issues driving up prices, it has climbed to $79,200. This makes SUVs such as the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco some of the cheapest and most available options.
“Bronco and Wrangler combined outsell any 5:1 convertible and both start in the $30,000s, making them one of the cheapest ways to get the open-air experience,” Tyson said. Jominy, vice president of data and analytics at JD Power. “With SUVs accounting for 59% of retail sales in 2022, these two could be the face of convertibles in the future.”
Top-selling convertibles over the past two years include the Chevrolet Corvette, Mazda MX-5, BMW 4 Series and Ford Mustang, according to JD Power.
Jim Owens, Ford Mustang’s chief marketing officer, said only about 15% of the car’s sales to consumers – 72,500 units in 2019 – are convertibles. He said demand was slowly declining. However, there is still a “predominant” demand in rental car fleets.
Polestar O2 electric roadster concept
Besides rental cars and SUVs, there is still hope for new models of convertibles and roadsters in the coming years, including electric vehicles. Ford unveiled a Mustang convertible last week as part of the seventh-generation car. Tesla has committed to bringing a new roadster to market. The EV startup Polestar plans to produce an electric convertible.
S&P Global Mobility expects sales of convertibles and roadsters to increase to around 82,000 vehicles in 2024 and 2025, before falling back to less than 70,000 units by the end of this decade.
Haartz’s Hollenbeck said that once automakers release electric vehicles, they’ll be looking for ways to make the vehicles stand out – and one of those will likely be a sunroof.
“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 said. “I can’t imagine they’re all going to go away. People who love convertibles love them.”