Sales of convertible cars have slowed their decline in 2014, but the segment still has reached a record low for the continent. An easy explanation for this is the crisis that has hit many European manufacturers hard, so they can no longer afford to spend a lot of development and marketing Euros on slow selling models, even if they could work as image-builders for the brand. Faced with the decision whether to develop a low-volume cabriolet or a potential high-volume crossover, most of the mainstream manufacturers have opted for the latter.
It doesn’t help that droptop models don’t sell outside of Europe and the US, which means that the market remains limited to just Europe in the case of the French brands, who used to make some of the most popular cabriolets on the market with the Peugeot 207CC and 307CC / 308CC or Renault Megane CC. As these models are being phased out without any word on a ragtop version of their successors, sales of convertibles in France are down the harshest of all markets.
The Fiat 500C continues to lead the segment, although it’s technically not a 100% cabriolet, because its B-pillar and C-pillar remain intact as its roof is basically not much more than a large sliding canvas sunroof, a similar system as the DS3 Cabrio. [Read more…]