Why are convertibles so popular in the UK?
- Invigorating & fun - the pure pleasure of wind in your hair
- Great residual values - they retain their value and are in demand when used
- Affordable on PCP plans - their residual value makes them attractive on finance
- Practicality - much more friendly for day to day driving now than in years gone by
- Plenty of choice - available from supermini size to SUV
Why are we crazy for cabriolet?
Given our weather it seems odd that here in the UK we buy more soft-top convertibles than any other European country, except for Germany. Ironically it’s our weather which is largely responsible; speak to drivers in Mediterranean countries and they’ll tell you it’s usually so hot and sunny that no-one wants a soft top, preferring a solid roof between them and the burning sun; letting the air con keep them cool.
Their loss, our gain.
Figures from the Motor Vehicle Registration Information System show that in 2021, 20,367 convertibles were registered for a 1.2% market share.
We have long-associated convertibles, soft tops, cabriolets, call them what you will, with , glamour, a bit racy, a bit naughty, but above all fun. They may ask a little bit of compromise of their owners, but come on, how many of us can honestly say we haven’t looked at them with just a twinge of jealousy as they come past us in our sensible, but slightly boring-by-comparison family car?
Driving on our roads today is, for the most part, not very enjoyable. They’re far too crowded and busy, and successive cuts to maintenance budgets have left our highways in an unacceptably poor state; many still get a thrill from a sports-car, but the more powerful models simply cannot be used anywhere near their potential, or even half of it, if you want to retain your license.
Motoring is often more of a mither than a pleasure, but if you do still want to get enjoyment on the road, then convertibles can supply it. It doesn’t have to be hot, you can get equal fun from dropping the top on a fresh, clear day in any season and it makes you feel invigorated, energised and fresh. Soft top motoring is a tonic and one of the few antidotes to those days when you sit in yet another endless traffic queue.
There are two more very good reasons why convertibles are popular.
One is money, because their residual values are so strong. Demand for the simple fun they provide isn’t restricted to the new car market and those buying in the second hand sector are quite happy to pay a premium for soft top motoring.
A second reason is that modern convertibles are many times more practical than those of even ten years ago. The roof is much more durable and weather-proof, and far easier to raise or lower. Indeed, in many cases, you can do it while on the move at the touch of a button and in only a few seconds.
They come in all shapes and sizes as manufacturers tap into the demand for them.
Regardless of the cost though, all have one common denominator which is that sense of fun and invigoration you rarely find anywhere else in modern motoring.