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Convertibles Bouncing Back!


At WindRestrictor® we of course love our convertible cars. Any shape, any size and from anywhere! So, naturally we’d be concerned over any slumping sales when it comes to an automobile type we’re directly dependent on for our own business. In this post, I’d like to take time to point out exactly why waning sales while not optimal, are the normal ebb and flow when it comes to all vehicles and convertibles especially. I’ll be using facts and history to point out the exact reasons why a revival is not only likely, but certain. Let me add that everything I say will be verifiable. Far be it from me to use sensationalism like the “news” outlets that have all but put the last nail in the coffin of our beloved drop top.

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Been There, Done That

In the past we’ve had a similar doomsday scenario in the 70s when nobody would ever drive a convertible again. The carefree feeling of the 50s and 60s was cashed in for bell bottoms, disco balls, and safety standards. Cadillac actually called their El Dorado, “the last of the American Convertibles”. This was of course the end to the chapter, but not the book.  Like everything else things go in and out of style. I read one writer say the convertible has been replaced as sexiest ride by the SUV. You read that correctly. This type of written aggrandizement is more about headlines than fact. Now many SUVs are fine automobiles and are great for soccer moms and lugging home a lot of groceries. But, when is the last time a man going through a midlife crisis bought an SUV to inject some fire into his veins again? Remember that hip hop song where the rapper went on and on about his SUV? The rock video where the bikini clad woman was sprawled across the hood of an SUV? That’s laughable. Convertibles were, are, and always will be the sensual king of cars.

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When people get tired of a style, the style changes. Evolution occurs. Producers harness science and trend to build something new and improved. The convertible style goes in and out but never stays dead. It takes a dip, but swims to the top eventually. It happened when they started mass producing and putting roofs on cars, it happened when they passed unreasonable safety standards, and it happened when car companies took a financial loss after an economic nosedive. The first two didn’t kill the cabriolet, why would the third?

The Stats

Okay, the sales have been declining steadily for years. Various reasons  but mostly due to fiscal hardships by the automotive industry’s biggest producers. However, is the slide something that’s still occurring? Most charts, graphs and available information say the eye of the storm has already passed. Most convertible sales have either leveled off or risen by the beginning of 2015 according to this chart.

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The graph above is taken from The Truth About Cars . Now if you check out the graph there’s tons of doom and gloom BEFORE 2015. But, as you can also see that the Audi TT is the only car not evening out or moving back to an incline. Which of course proves the already well known point that not all models make it out of slumps. After the huge economic down turn of the mid 2000’s, Kappas (Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice) and Chrysler Crossfires were left out to dry. However, finding a Corvette and Camaro is easy. Why? Because, auto makers either restructure body types to accommodate their sales data , continued engineering on reliable models, or discontinue car makes to reflect figures. It isn’t a convertible issue, it’s a tactic used by everyone who sells everything. Remember New Coke? Did Coca Cola cease to exist or did they say, “bad idea” and reverted back to the soft drink everyone wanted? Exactly.

Do you know what Chevrolet’s longest lasting nameplate is? Corvette. Ford’s? Mustang. Both of which are legendary for their convertible models. They’ll continue to evolve. I’d bet your paycheck on it. Okay, mine too.

 

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 Winds Of Change

I hate saying the word politics, because I can already feel division. However, change can be good. Even if the president is from the same affiliation, a shift can freshen things up. We’re at the start of a presidential election year. This is a guaranteed year for new blood. President Obama cannot seek reelection. Someone else will be at the helm. Now this isn’t to indict our current leader, but different organizations work differently with different elected officials.

But, what if it gets worse? Can it get worse? Anything is possible, but it’s unlikely. As I mentioned earlier slowly but surely it’s evening out or even rising for most models. Even if a small dip occurs in the economy, it often comes zooming back after the first year or so. In this article by Marshall Nickels EdD, this is explained to a degree. In the first year or two, investors can be bullish in moving forward. After this it’s up, up, up. So, even if a dip comes rest easy knowing this will NOT be the case forever.

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Now before anybody looks at this chart above us and challenges my assertions, allow me to explain my reasoning. This is of course by Bloomberg. This shows that in an election year (2008), we certainly had a huge drop. But, if you look at the map closely, it wasn’t a huge drop in EVERY election year. 2004 was a small decline. By 2012 it was evening out. It was horrible, but it wasn’t like MOST election years. Wars, automakers nearly folding, mortgage crisis etc. This was the exception, not the rule. There’s certainly some unrest, but at least domestically, not nearly what it was. Since the election years seem mostly at the very least steady, is it a stretch to think a year with less issues will be a success? Hardly.

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Political winds shift, economies improve, and people can afford something a little more than their daily driver. Historically, this has been the role of our beloved convertible. Please email me if you notice any important omissions on dates or names. Thinking about ordering? Use, code WRBlog and receive a 10% discount on your order. Thanks for reading!

 

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