Fleet News

UK cabriolet market lifted by hard-tops

The introduction of the hard-top cabriolet seems to be sustaining the convertible market all year round.

Traditionally, demand for topless motoring rises in summer and falls in winter, but the weatherproof security of the new breed of coupe-cabriolets is winning buyers over, according to market analysts CAP.

Britain is second only to Gemany in its love of convertibles, which represented 4.3% of all new registrations in 2006, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

CAP says folding hard-tops represent 29% of the convertible market today, with 16 out of 55 cabriolets sporting metal roofs.

Retail used dealers have confirmed the growth in popularity of folding hard-tops, with 60% saying their customers preferred them to canvas roof variants.

A quarter of dealers report a growing demand for convertibles despite the winter.

CAP forecast manager Jeff Knight said: “Regardless of build quality, customers perceive canvas roofs as more vulnerable while hard-tops remove those concerns.

“We still have to see whether this ingenious but complex metal folding roof technology remains problem-free in the long term.

“But at the moment, the signs are that these cars are enjoying high consumer demand regardless of season.”

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