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Posts Tagged ‘convertibles’

Convertible Owners are More Educated, Affluent, Finds New Study

Over half have bachelor’s degree.

by on Jul.22, 2014

The Beetle Convertible was last year's most popular ragtop - but only #48 on the U.S. sales chart.

Don’t let it go to your head, but if you drive a convertible, chances are you’re both more educated and more affluent than the typical American motorist, or so shows a new study from Experian Automotive.

You’re also  lot more likely to live in one of the sunshine states, especially California, Texas or Florida – though ragtops also have plenty of fans in more northern climes, including coastal communities in New York, as well as that heartland state, Illinois.

A Breath of Fresh Air!

While convertible sales have been shrinking in recent decades, most manufacturers offer at least a couple ragtops, and though luxury makers typically have more models in their line-ups, some of the most popular models are mainstream offerings, such as the Ford Mustang convertible and Mazda Miata roadster, noted Experian.


Chrysler Dropping Convertible 200 – But Ragtops Live On

Ragtops shift to sporty, high-line model segments.

by on Mar.18, 2014

Chrysler has no plans to add a convertible version of the new 2015 200 sedan.

Convertibles have been part of the model mix at Chrysler ever since the mid-1980s when then-Chairman Lee Iacocca re-introduced the Chrysler LeBaron. And it lived on in the later Sebring model — which itself was renamed the Chrysler 200 a few years back. But as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles gets ready to launch its new Chrysler 200, the “D-segment” convertible is going away, with no plans to replace it, the maker confirms.

“We built the last (Chrysler 200 convertible) in October,” Andy Love, senior manager for the Chrysler brand and the Chrysler 200, told “Dealers still have some stock so we’re still going to be selling them,” he added, but once the old model runs out there’ll be no 200 convertible to follow.

Clear the Air!

Love explained that the ragtop segment is steadily shrinking.  The days when manufacturers automatically included a convertible version of their midsize and compact models is rapidly coming to an end.  That doesn’t mean the convertible is going away, it’s just shifting to sportier and more luxurious product segments.


First Official Look: 2014 C7 Corvette Convertible

Droptop to make official debut in Geneva – anchoring Chevy’s global push.

by on Mar.02, 2013

The first official look at the new Chevrolet "C7" Corvette Convertible.

It was the star of the hometown car show but now General Motors hopes to prove its new, seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette has international appeal as it drops the top on the so-called “C7” by introducing the convertible edition at the coming week’s Geneva Motor Show.

Though a few hazy “spy shots” have surfaced in recent weeks, these are the first official images of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible and they reveal that GM designers and engineers went to great lengths to maintain the striking shape of the coupe that was first introduced in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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Indeed, in a conversation with, Tadge Juechter, the chief engineer on the C7 Corvette program stressed that it “was designed with the convertible in mind.” That’s unlike the way GM and many other automakers have traditionally approached the development of a ragtop.


First Look: Audi Crosslane Coupe Concept

Is it a coupe, a crossover, a convertible? Audi says all three.

by on Sep.27, 2012

The Audi Crossland Coupe Concept adopts advanced, lightweight materials like carbon fiber, a plug-in hybrid drivetrain and a slick social media system.

Spend much time with automotive planners, designers or engineers at this year’s Paris Motor Show and you’re bound to hear the words, “white space,” come up quite frequently.  In today’s hotly competitive automotive market, manufacturers are struggling to find products that carve out their own unique identity.

In some cases, makers hope to come up with all-new segments – as Chrysler did in the mid-1980s with the first modern minivan. Others want to find unique ways to combine existing products – the route Audi chose with the Crosslane Coupe Concept making its debut this week in the City of Lights.

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The Audi Crosslane Coupe Concept is, the maker explains, a blend of crossover, convertible and coupe.  And it makes use of plenty of advanced technologies, both in the basic platform, body and powertrain, as well as inside the concept’s very sophisticated interior.


Ragtop Renaissance Threatened by Fuel Economy Concerns

Assortment of new drop-tops debut in New York.

by on Apr.27, 2011

Bentley adds the Supersports Convertible to its line-up.

Spend some time wandering New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center and you might think there’s a ragtop renaissance underway.  There are a score of new and more familiar convertibles on display at this year’s New York Auto Show.

But despite their seeming abundance, convertibles are barely making a dent in U.S. automotive sales charts, and some analysts warn that demand for al fresco driving machines may continue to slide as consumers shift focus to more fuel efficient products.

“We think there’s a small but viable market for a convertible like the CrossCabriolet,” suggests Mike Drongowski, senior product planning manager for Nissan, which is just launching sales of the new model, which shares the basic platform of the maker’s hardtop Murano – making it the world’s first crossover-based convertible.

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The New York Auto Show served as the backdrop for the introduction of both the Fiat 500C convertible (Click Here for more), and the Bentley Supersports Convertible.  But there are plenty of other new models on display, including the BMW 6-Series Convertible and Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, as well as more familiar offerings, such as the Mazda Miata, Volkswagen Eos, Mini convertible and Audi’s R8 Spyder and A5 convertibles.

Prices range from $23,905 for the Miata to $280,400 for the new Bentley, which goes on sale this coming summer.


Say What? Convertibles Can Damage Your Hearing?

New study warns drivers to slow down or put the top back up.

by on Jan.07, 2011

Danger: top down.

Say what?  A new study finds that driving too fast – and for too long – with the top down on your convertible can damage your hearing.

And even if you’re not driving all that fast, running alongside a truck, motorcycle or muscle car can expose you to “noise spikes” loud enough to do permanent damage, according to the Journal Laryngology and Otology, which reports on the medical science of hearing.

Testing a variety of different convertibles, researchers found that in 80% of them noise levels hit maximum levels of 85 decibels or greater at speeds of 55 mph.  The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health says prolonged exposure to noise at that level can be damaging.  And the louder the sound the shorter the recommended exposure.


First Look: Nissan Murano Convertible

Maker defies skeptics with convertible crossover.

by on Nov.16, 2010

The Nissan Murano Convertible debuts in L.A., this week, and will go on sale early in 2011.

Nissan has shown a flair for the non-traditional, especially when it comes to design.  Just witness its Murano and Infiniti FX crossovers, which showed you didn’t have to build a boxy, SUV-like product to win consumers over.

But, as reported earlier this year, Nissan seemed to be stretching things to the limits with its idea of rolling out a Murano-based convertible.  Would it be as awkward and ungainly as the unloved Chevrolet SSR, the less-than compelling pickup-convertible combination that fell flat on its face a few years back?

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A number of our media colleagues tried to imagine what the Nissan Murano Convertible might look like, and, indeed, they came up with some decidedly ungainly ideas, including center-mounted rollbars, that just wouldn’t have made for a very attractive offering.

But, it turns out, what Nissan is billing as “the world’s first all-wheel-drive convertible crossover” is a surprisingly stylish and reasonably elegant design.


Chevy Sets $30,000 Price For Camaro Convertible

Aiming for a “greater range of drivers.”

by on Oct.04, 2010

Chevy will finally get its Camaro Convertible to market by next February.

After a delay of more than a year, the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible is finally making it to market – although some might question the timing of a February launch for the ragtop muscle car.

Then again, Chevy will put the focus on the Sunbelt first, revealing a production version of the Camaro Convertible at next month’s Los Angeles Motor Show.

But Chevrolet officials have jumped the gun, at least on pricing, revealing that the convertible pony car will carry a base price of $30,000 plus another $850 for destination and delivery.  That adds up to about a $7,000 premium over the Camaro coupe.

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By the time the convertible hits the road the reborn Camaro will have been on sale for nearly two years.  It’s a matter of debate whether that’s unfortunate or fortuitous timing.


Chevy Teases With Shots of 2012 Camaro Convertible

Anything look different about this shot?

by on Apr.19, 2010

The first semi-official shot of the production-ready 2012 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible.

“Anything look different about this shot?” asks the General Motors page on Facebook.  It took only a microsecond to recognize this was the first more-or-less official pic of the much-delayed 2012 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible.

Though company officials say there may be a few tweaks to come, this shot and the one after the jump are solid indicators of what the production pony car cabriolet will look like.  Perhaps the most notable change is the relatively conventional Camaro headlight design, rather than the edgy look of the original convertible concept.  The car now has dual exhaust tips, as well, just like Mustang’s ragtop.

The decision to release these shots may have been driven by mounting speculation that the project was once again delayed.  Such concerns were circulating after the noted absence of the production Camaro convertible at the Detroit Auto Show, this past January, where it had been expected to make its formal debut.

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Originally, the Camaro Convertible was supposed to make it into showrooms this year, but as first reported, a year ago, the project ran into a variety of delays.  There was the GM bankruptcy, of course, but the primary problem was the bankruptcy of the German company originally chosen to supply the open-air top.


First Look: 2010 Audi R8 5.2 Spider

Feel the hurricane blow through your hair.

by on Sep.14, 2009

The 2010 Audi R8 5.2 Spider delivers essentially the same numbers as the coupe V10 supercar: 0 - 60 in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph.

The 2010 Audi R8 5.2 Spider delivers essentially the same numbers as the coupe V10 supercar: 0 - 60 in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph.

There’s something special about feeling the wind blow through your hair, but the feeling will likely be more like a hurricane should you stomp on the throttle of the 2010 Audi R8 5.2 Spider.

The long-awaited convertible version of Audi’s hot-selling sports car makes its formal debut, Tuesday morning, at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, but the German maker provided a sneak peek during a background briefing for more than 2000 of the brand’s closest friends – among them.

Use the Force!

Use the Force!

The cloth top can be operated even while driving, at low speeds, as Audi CEO Rupert Stadler demonstrated while driving the Spider onto the stage.  With the top down, the cabriolet retains the basic lines of the popular R8 sports car – and pretty much all of its performance.