The convertible segment in Europe remains virtually stable from 2012 to 2013, but the ranking is shuffled by the introduction of new models and large declines of existing models. Volkswagen is the convertible segment’s biggest brand, with no less than three cars in the top-1o, including the 2 best selling models. The VW Golf Cabriolet holds onto its lead, but barely. A 43% drop in its sales gives the VW Beetle the opportunity to come within 150 units of the top spot. Of course, the new generation Beetle (which losses the “New” in its previous name as New Beetle), is largely responsible for the decline in Golf Cabrio sales, as customers seem to prefer the newer model of the two. It would be interesting to see which of these two softtops finishes 2014 in the lead.
The Smart Fortwo Cabrio sells exactly 4 units less than in 2012 and holds on to its third place of the segment, now trailed by the Citroën DS3 Cabrio, introduced late 2012. The little Citroën outsells each of its Peugeot convertible hardtop siblings 207CC and 308CC, which are starting to show their age and are both down more than 30%.
The newly introduced Opel/Vauxhall Cascada, a standalone model with a softtop replacing the convertible hardtop Astra TwinTop, hasn’t yet reached its full potential, but already outselling its direct competitor from Volkswagen, the Eos. The latter has already been around since 2006 with a facelift in 2010. The Cascada should be able to come close to the other two VW’s in the segment and thus finish 2014 on the segment podium before we can call it a success for Opel and Vauxhall.
The premium convertible segment is down 19% and has therefore been overtaken in size by the non-premium convertible segment, which is an opposite trend of the Coupe segments, where the premium versions are now the biggest segment. Similar to the Coupe segment, Mercedes-Benz rules the Convertible segment, occupying the first two spots of the segment, both in 2012 and 2013. The SLK roadster is the best seller, despite sales down 29%, and it is followed by the E-Class Cabriolet, which is down just 5%.
The Audi A5 Cabriolet has held on to its third position, ahead of the smaller BMW 1-series Cabriolet, down a third on last year. BMW takes a hit this year with its 3-series Cabriolet, as customers are eagerly awaiting its successor, now named 4-series. The 4-series is a very likely candidate for the segment’s top spot in 2014, or should at least be able to take the second spot from the E-Class.
The BMW Z4 roadster is down 20% which allows the Porsche Boxster to come within 70 units of it, as a facelift pushes sales of the Porsche up 34%, ahead of the convertible version of Porsche’s core model, the 911. I’m not sure if Porsche should be happy about that, as profit margins on the 911 are much higher than on the smaller models.
PREMIUM CONVERTIBLE SEGMENT
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabrio
Audi A5/S5/RS5 Cabrio
BMW 1-series Cabrio
BMW 3-series Cabrio
Porsche 911 Cabrio
Audi A3/S3 Cabrio
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