Over the past twenty years, the UK has become known as a convertible-loving nation. In August 2004, SMMT had recorded 78,000 convertible car registrations in the year to date. Currently there are over a million convertible cars on UK roads.
However, despite the whole new car market seeing a record 29 months of growth, demand for convertible cars has lessened in recent years. In 2013 27,222 convertible cars were registered, compared to 64,519 a decade earlier.
One contributing factor to this is a recent change in consumer habits. In the past five years the dual-purpose and multi-purpose vehicle markets have grown by 87% and 59% respectively. Evidently, consumers are now choosing more practical and versatile vehicles.
During the economic downturn, consumers turned to the more affordable and efficient vehicles in the mini and supermini segments. Since 2007, the mini segment has nearly tripled, while 813,000 cars were registered in the supermini segment in 2013, marking a 5.5% increase over 2007.In the same time, the specialist sports car segment shrunk by 27%.
With economic confidence returning to the UK, however, the specialist sports car segment is now starting to see an upturn. It grew by 3.1% to nearly 50,000 units in 2013.
Currently on display at SMMT are two cars that show that positivity exists in the convertible market: the Citroen DS3 Racing Cabriolet and Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe.
One of a new breed of fabric-roofed superminis, the Citroen DS3 Cabriolet has accounted for around 10% of the model’s sales so far this year.
Over the past 25 years, the Mazda MX-5 has become synonymous with open-top motoring. Since it was launched in the UK in 1990, Mazda has sold 108,974 examples, with registrations remaining strong into 2014.
To find out more about the changing UK new car market, see SMMT’s new car registration data.