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Shrinking Convertible Sales Hurting Roof Makers

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/15/2014 Kelly Pleskot

Owning a convertible used to be the ultimate symbol of success, but it turns out buyers are ditching drop-tops for crossovers and SUVs. Sun-friendly vehicles now make up just 3.3 percent of the auto market, down from 5.4 percent during the first half of 2007. Even more staggering is the fact that convertible production has plunged by almost half in North America and Europe from 2007 through 2013.

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With the decline of the convertible comes the decline of roof suppliers, according to a new report from Automotive News Europe. Webasto, the world's largest supplier of roofs and controller of roughly half of the market, has shut down facilities in recent years due to lack of demand. Following closely behind is Valmet, which will close operations in Osnabrueck, Germany by 2017. 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

While convertibles may be somewhat popular in California and Florida, they have not been widely accepted around the globe. Few drop-tops roam China, which is now the world's largest auto market.

The convertible crisis has reached an all-time high, and if you're not convinced, just look at the number of roofless models that are facing the chopping block. In Europe, Peugeot is looking to discontinue the 207CC convertible. Meanwhile, Volkswagen announced the Eos is getting the axe after the 2015 model year in the U.S., and as the AN report suggests, a number of other VW convertibles are being reconsidered by CEO Martin Winterkorn. Other large global automakers, including Honda and Toyota, have no more than one convertible in their lineups across all brands.

Source: Automotive News Europe

2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet
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