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Old 08-21-2015, 06:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Cool Sales Of Convertibles Are Decelerating; Blame The (Fuel) Economy

NPR has a small story (and a gorgeous photo of a suicide sloop Lincoln Conty) on the decline of the convertible linking it to the loss of fuel economy of the model due to added weight and change of aerodynamics. While this postulate is interesting, I would think it's more due to the Pickup and CUV being the way to show you've made it or you're a MAN, over the drop-top. But there could be other reasons I'm not thinking of.
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Old 08-22-2015, 11:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think you've both got the reasons wrong. The convertible option may add some weight, but probably not enough to lose more than a couple tenths of an MPG. As for the aero, I don't think there is a requirement to run mileage numbers for the feds in both top-up and top-down conditions. If it doesn't need to be tested, then for all intents it doesn't exist. The much bigger downside for the manufacturer is the complexity that comes with the option. Consider all the bracing & reinforcement required to replace the rigidity that is required to make a unibody car stiff enough to pass modern crash tests. It's hard to justify the engineering to make provision for all the changes in a low volume convertible variant. You might sell enough -vert Mustangs and Camaros to cover the cost; it's highly unlikely on other model lines. The styling of most cars doesn't even allow for a -vert since most don't offer a 2-door version to make it out of. Turn a Fusion, Malibu, Camry, Sonata into a convertible? Not gonna happen. It would be equivalent to designing a model twice.

As for the consumer, NO ONE is buying a pickup or SUV because of their fuel economy advantages over a convertible. More likely they look at a soft top and see social miscreants cutting it open to either gain access to the interior or simply for the joy of vandalism. They see the expense of maintaining seals, linkages, lift pistons, and the eventual replacement of the top. They don't have a garage to shelter it in and they don't fancy trying to safely get the snow off the top in winter. And, since they don't live in California the number of ideal top-down days of driving, when it's not too cold, rainy, blazing hot, or dripping humid to enjoy open motoring, is too few to justify the expense.
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Old 08-22-2015, 07:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpolicke View Post
I think you've both got the reasons wrong. The convertible option may add some weight, but probably not enough to lose more than a couple tenths of an MPG. As for the aero, I don't think there is a requirement to run mileage numbers for the feds in both top-up and top-down conditions. If it doesn't need to be tested, then for all intents it doesn't exist. The much bigger downside for the manufacturer is the complexity that comes with the option. Consider all the bracing & reinforcement required to replace the rigidity that is required to make a unibody car stiff enough to pass modern crash tests. It's hard to justify the engineering to make provision for all the changes in a low volume convertible variant. You might sell enough -vert Mustangs and Camaros to cover the cost; it's highly unlikely on other model lines. The styling of most cars doesn't even allow for a -vert since most don't offer a 2-door version to make it out of. Turn a Fusion, Malibu, Camry, Sonata into a convertible? Not gonna happen. It would be equivalent to designing a model twice.

As for the consumer, NO ONE is buying a pickup or SUV because of their fuel economy advantages over a convertible. More likely they look at a soft top and see social miscreants cutting it open to either gain access to the interior or simply for the joy of vandalism. They see the expense of maintaining seals, linkages, lift pistons, and the eventual replacement of the top. They don't have a garage to shelter it in and they don't fancy trying to safely get the snow off the top in winter. And, since they don't live in California the number of ideal top-down days of driving, when it's not too cold, rainy, blazing hot, or dripping humid to enjoy open motoring, is too few to justify the expense.
Agree on the number of top-down days, (esp here in Chicago), just traded in 2014 DUSK SE conv on a Challenger.
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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well all the above are true having a vert is great If you have a shelter for it and lets face it they cost more cash and what really killed them was AC in cars, most of the folks I know who have verts today have them as extra cars, I have had a ragtops cars for over 20 years but they have always been a extra car for summer use, I assume a large amount of Miata's are the spare car in the house. They are great to own that way but you need the space, and extra cash to do it.
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