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Posts Tagged ‘ragtops’

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.


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.


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.

News Now!

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.


First Drive: Lexus IS250C and IS350C

Adding some passion - and a little fresh air - to the brand.

by on May.15, 2009

Can Lexus inject some passion into the brand with models like the 2010 IS250C convertible?

Can Lexus inject some passion into the brand with models like the 2010 IS250C convertible?

Let’s face it, when you think about passionate car brands, Lexus is not the first to come to mind.  Among luxury marques, Ferrari, BMW, possibly Audi will immediately pop into your head.  Toyota’s luxury division is all about quality, reliability and, well, the brand you think of for folks who like reliable automotive appliances.

At least, that’s how things were for much of the maker’s first two decades.  The flagship Lexus LS is a perfect example.  It’s loaded with luxury features and routinely wins the quality awards, but it’s certainly no 7-Series when it comes to spirited driving.

Enter the IS, the entry-luxury sedan first launched in 2000, and updated five years later.  It’s steadily morphing into a car that, while not quite yet the match of a 3-er, certainly can be described as “spirited.”  Last year’s launch of the V-8-powered IS-F boosted the nameplate’s bona fides.  Now comes the 2010 Lexus IS250C and IS350C convertibles. (more…)

First Drive: Infiniti G37 Convertible

Good looks, great performance. Sorry about the trunk.

by on Mar.27, 2009

Infiniti traded off trunk and rear seat space to deliver a convertible that maintains the looks of the sleek G37 Coupe.

Infiniti traded trunk and rear seat space for a convertible with the sleek look of the G37 Coupe.

As I set out on a beautiful, early Spring morning for the winding open roads north of Los Angeles, my mind turns back to the frigid cold morning, just a wee bit more than 20 years before, when Nissan formally pulled the wraps off its new luxury brand, Infiniti.

The event overlapped the similar announcement, at the 1989 Detroit Auto Show  by Toyota, which used the well-attended show to introduce its own luxury marque, Lexus.  The similarities continued from there.  Both brands would come to market with a pair of new products: a small and reasonably affordable “entry-luxury” sedan, and a high-line saloon car aimed directly at the European makers, such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz that had long dominated the upscale automotive market.

But those nearly identical debuts soon diverged, Lexus quickly becoming one of the most powerful players in the luxury market — indeed, it has been the segment’s best-seller, here in the U.S. for most of the decade – while Infiniti all but vanished from popular perception.  Indeed, in the late 1990s when parent Nissan was struggling for its very survival, it gave serious consideration to killing off the moribund brand.

CEO Carlos Ghosn ultimately relented, and his renewed focus on product has slowly begun to pay off.  Though Infiniti remains an also-ran in the luxury segment, it’s slowly — belatedly — gaining traction.  It’s in the midst of a global product roll-out, one that gained significant notoriety during the recent Geneva Motor Show, thanks to the unveiling of the Essence concept car, judged by many in the media to be the Swiss show’s most striking introduction. (more…)

Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Delayed, Z28 Cancelled – For Now

Budget problems corral pony car program.

by on Mar.20, 2009

Meltdown by a key supplier will delay the launch of the planned Camaro Convertible.

The meltdown of a key supplier will delay the launch of the planned Camaro Convertible.

After a long, three-year wait, Chevrolet’s reborn Camaro pony car began rolling off the assembly line earlier this week. General Motors officials are hoping the sporty coupe will play a critical role in rebuilding the ailing automaker’s image in an increasingly skeptical market.

But two key variants of the new Camaro have been delayed — and could even be killed off entirely — due to the worsening budget crisis plaguing GM and its suppliers, a senior company executive tells

The most immediate problem for Chevy will be saving the Camaro convertible.  The project was ready to roll, with production scheduled to begin about a year after the launch of the coupe, according to company officials.  But plans have been put on hold because of the collapse of the German company responsible for supplying the convertible top, explains Gene Stefanyshyn, Camaro’s Vehicle Line Executive. (more…)