Audi A3 Cabriolet

Drop-tops dropped by British car buyers

Audi A3 CabrioletBritain was once the odd man out in Europe: open-top convertible sales were much stronger here than in countries such as France, Spain and Italy, despite the notoriously bad weather. Not anymore: new data shows convertible sales have plunged over the past decade.

Back in 2007, over 100,000 open-top cars were sold in Britain. Last year, the total fell to just 47,000 – taking market share from 4.5 percent, down to less than 2 percent.

Retained values of convertibles are declining too, says Glass’s Guide cars editor Jonathan Brown. A two-year-old cabriolet could command around 60 percent of its new price in 2007. Last year, the retained value had fallen to less than 50 percent.

The values of five-year old cars has also been hit – and that’s despite there being fewer cars in the market, which ordinarily should help reinforce retained values due to supply and demand.

Brown says there is still a future for open-top cars in Britain, but it must now be accepted they are niche cars rather than a mainstream segment – “like other segments of the market that have surpassed their heyday.

“Soft-top sales have fallen consistently over the past 10 years; the question now seems to be, have we fallen out of love with convertibles?” Judging by the figures, it certainly seems so…

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