The wow Factor of Convertibles

by : Kimberly Meyer

"Convertibles are on the rise again," says Jim Hall, analyst for automotive research firm AutoPacific Inc. of Tustin, California. This year's automakers sales reports are dominated by upgraded versions of small cars. Moreover, a sizeable market is reflected to have purchased not-so-costly convertibles with hardtops. These convertibles deliver an option to enjoy the fun of open-air driving and the security of the traditional cars especially during winter and rainy days.

"If you're in Chicago, this is a fine car to drive in the wintertime," says Volkswagen spokesman Steve Keyes of his company's Eos. The convertibles that made a dramatic increase in sales include MX-5 Miata with power retractable hardtop, Pontiac G6 and Volvo C70.

Mazda Miata is one of the innovative convertibles that have triggered the crowd to press their purchase buttons. which include the remarkable retractable power hardtop made the vehicle the new price leader of the year. When it arrived at the showrooms, its starting price was $24,945. That time, the lowest-priced convertible in United States was the 2-seater Mercedes-Benz SLK280. It was priced at $44,125.

Last year, less expensive power-operated hardtop convertibles are nowhere to be found. Nowadays, three out of nine convertible models with power hardtop have a base price of not more than $30,000. Another reason that triggered the mainstream demographics to purchase said convertibles is reduction of its parts. In the U.S., 40 convertible nameplates, softtop and hardtop went on sale. They have the starting prices not exceeding $33,000. The second lowest-priced hardtop was 2007 Volkswagen Eos which has a starting price of $28,620. Next to Eos comes 2007 Pontiac G6 which is priced at $29,150.

Automakers are taking into consideration this sweeping shift to stylish yet functional convertibles. Jace Stokes, Pontiac product manager, says "The G6 convertible's appearance has drawn people into dealerships in areas of the country that have not traditionally been strong for Pontiac."