Driving in the Hardtop Genre

By: Kevin Anderson


Automakers are now attesting the edge of retractable hardtops over the conventional ragtops. Parenthetically, they are shifting to the modern technology to deliver fun open-air drive as well as secured weather resistance driving.

Mazda Miata is one of the leaders of hardtop technology. The car is made simple yet striking, affordable and perky. However, its greatest edge is its soft top that can be maneuvered with just a push on the button. In fact, said model can be operated by just using only one hand. Jay Amestoy, Mazda's spokesperson said that power retractable hardtop technology of Miata is a significant factor of its hefty 30% sales in the United States.

The move of automakers is so swift and apparent. "Yes, it costs a lot to engineer and install, but we found some of our target buyers -- women, especially -- see it as a big advantage in safety and security," says Pontiac spokesman Jim Hopson. As to Pontiac, its G6 RHT went on sale last April. It was priced at about $29,000, $5,000 more than the coupe version. According to .D. Power and Associates' Power Information Network (PIN), G6 RHT takes an average 29 days to sell. PIN also observed that midsize cars in general, stay on dealer lots an average 53 days and sell for about $8,000 less than the G6 RHT. These findings are significant to automakers. The crucial move can give them rewarding profits so they opt to live in the hype of hardtops.

Volvo, on one hand, has set forth its C70, a 4-seater RHT that went on sale since midyear. The model is a compact car that shares Ford's C1 platform which was used with . According to PIN, C70 sits on dealer lots 14 days. On the contrary, the Mercedes-Benz CLK ragtop sits 51 days.

The coupe convertible hardtop from Volvo was designed by John Kinsey and built by Pininfarina. It uses quality that include strong three piece retractable metal that can be raised or lowered in a short span of 30 seconds. C70 replaced the cabriolet/convertible and the coupe segment, which are absent in Volvo's lineup since 2003.

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