Are Convertibles Dying?
On Interstate 90, somewhere between Seattle and Spokane, I passed a slow moving convertible that travelled leisurely in the right lane.
I glanced at the car, and the driver, as I sped by and made a quick comment to my travel partner.
“Convertibles should not be front-wheel drive,” I said.
The car, a red Toyota Camry Solara, was driven by an older woman with short graying hair.
My friend, without missing a beat, said, “I know. But then what would people like her drive?”
An excellent point. She continued, “Those are cruising cars. Not much for driving fun, just a way for regular people to get some wind in their hair.”
I put the Solara, the Chrysler Sebring convertible and the PT Cruiser convertible in the same category, that being: Pointless. In my humble opinion, a convertible should be rear-wheel drive and have some sense of sexiness to it. A convertible should not look like the log people ride in at theme park water attractions.
The good news is those cars aren’t made new anymore. There are plenty, however, available on the used market. Actually, new convertibles seem to be a dying breed. Automotive News says a lack of new convertible cars is reducing sales, which seems like a pretty obvious conclusion. Only about one percent of new vehicles registered in the U.S. last year were droptops compared to 2006, when the number was two percent.
More convertibles are coming, which should push new sales numbers in a positive direction. A Scion FR-S convertible is on the way, a new Mazda MX-5 Miata is being developed along with a new Alfa Romeo roadster and there are new versions of the MINI Cooper, BMW 4 Series and Chevy Corvette coming up.
All this to say, maybe convertibles were only dying because there were so many ugly front-wheel-drive ones out there. The current used market has plenty of fun convertibles too, but as more new ones come out, more exciting used convertibles won’t be far behind.
What used convertible would you buy right now? Front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive?