2015 Ford Mustang Convertible Is Rarity in Dwindling Drop Top Segment | Edmunds

2015 Ford Mustang Convertible Is Rarity in Dwindling Drop Top Segment


Just the Facts:
  • Despite such high-profile drop tops as the 2015 Ford Mustang Convertible and 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible, American consumers are lukewarm about the segment, Edmunds has found.
  • Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds supervisor of price and industry analysis, blames America's fascination with sport-utility vehicles for the fading interest in convertibles, as well as sticker shock.
  • Last year, domestic and imported convertibles combined accounted for a sliver less than 1 percent of all vehicle registrations, a mere 151,789 vehicles, slipping from 1.37 percent five years earlier, according to IHS Automotive/Polk vehicle registrations.

SANTA MONICA, California Despite such high-profile drop tops as the 2015 Ford Mustang Convertible and 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible, American consumers are lukewarm about the segment, Edmunds has found.

Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds supervisor of price and industry analysis, blames America's fascination with sport-utility vehicles for the fading interest in convertibles, as well as sticker shock.

"When you look at a lot of these vehicles, they are very expensive," Acevedo said.

Convertible interest is in a downward spiral.

Last year, domestic and imported convertibles combined accounted for a sliver less than 1 percent of all vehicle registrations, a mere 151,789 vehicles, slipping from 1.37 percent five years earlier, according to IHS Automotive/Polk vehicle registrations.

Market share slid further during the January through March period this year to 0.84 percent, compared to 0.91 percent for the same period in 2013.

Acevedo said: "Cost is definitely one reason" for the decline.

"With Mustang, for example, you are looking at a $5,000 premium to go from a (base) coupe to a convertible and $7,500 for the Camaro," he said.

The base 2014 Mustang coupe stickers for $23,335, compared to $28,335 for the convertible. Both prices include an $825 destination charge. The 2015 Ford Mustang coupe starts at $24,425, including an $825 destination charge, but Ford has not yet announced 2015 Mustang convertible pricing.

The base 2014 Chevrolet Camaro coupe is priced at $24,550 and $32,050 for the base convertible. Both prices include a $995 destination charge.

For Ford and Chevrolet, each convertible is far from being a big seller. Ford sold approximately 77,200 Mustangs last year, of which about 10,000 were convertibles. Chevrolet sold about 9,700 convertibles out of a total of 80,500 Camaros.

Convertibles also are marketed by Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Chrysler, Ferrari, Fiat, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lexus, Maserati, Mazda, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Nissan, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Smart and Volkswagen.

While market share has slipped in the past five years, so has the number of convertible offerings. There are 43 models for the 2014 model year, down from 51 in 2009.

Detroit's automakers barely have their toe in the water. Just four convertible models are offered, including the Corvette Stingray and the 2014 Chrysler 200, a far cry from the 1960s when nearly every brand marketed ragtops in as many as three dimensions: compact, intermediate and full size. The U.S model count is expected to slip to three for the 2015 model year, as Chrysler drops the 200 convertible.

Another reason for the decline in convertibles is the growing popularity of sport-utility vehicles, which offer all-wheel drive for inclement weather and highly flexible, functional interior space.

"People are buying things that are a little bit more pragmatic," Acevedo said. "Coupes are becoming less popular and so convertibles, which are even less practical in a lot of ways than a coupe, are certainly feeling that."

Although the convertible market is small, there is little to no chance convertibles will disappear from the U.S. market, said Tom Libby, manager of loyalty solutions and industry analysis at IHS Automotive.

"The high-end BMW, Mercedes models I think will always be there," Libby said. "There is a market and it is small but the buyer is very, very (wealthy) and willing to pay for it."

Edmunds says: With such poor sales, the likelihood of additional, mainstream convertible models is remote at best.

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