New convertible car sales shine

Latest SMMT figures show that registrations of new topless models have soared this year. Despite a rain-drenched summer, the January to August market rose 21 per cent from 64,386 units in 2003 to 77,946 new cars this year.The numbers reflect a 10-year trend in which new convertible sales have grown from 17,706 to 98,316 units. In the last five years demand has more than doubled and 2004 is certain to be the first 100,000+ market for top-down motoring.Compared with the rest of Europe, the UK leads the way in sales growth. The latest year-end figures from ACEA, the European automobile makers’ trade association, confirm that of 356,555 convertible models sold throughout Western Europe last year, more than a quarter left UK showrooms. The UK sells roughly three times more topless cars than either France or Italy. Only Germany, by far the largest European market for new cars, sells more convertibles each year but their 32 per cent growth in the market since 1999 is still dwarfed by the UK’s hike of 114 per cent. SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan commented, ‘Some people say that we British must be mad to buy more convertibles than countries like France, Spain and Italy. But there may be a good reason why we sell thousands more than the combined total of these three markets.‘Perhaps driving with the hood down in Milan or Madrid is simply not as appealing as it is in Manchester. Maybe in southern Europe the sun is just too oppressive for anything other than the roof-up with a blast of the air conditioning. A sunny day in Scunthorpe on the other hand is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the best of top-down motoring.’ For tables and more information, please see the link below.DownloadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more