Few things match the joy of open-roofed motoring. The wind runs through your hair, the sun beats down and the trees flash overhead, and it's then that you realize that this elemental experience is just better than being permanently ensconced in stylized cage of steel and glass. Unfortunately for a lot of convertible manufacturers, consumers are unaware of this truth.
Whether fitted with soft or hard folding lids, today's droptops are better than ever for year-round motoring. Advancements in power top mechanisms, sealing, aerodynamics, structural rigidity, rollover safety and creature comforts like heated and cooled seats mean that modern convertibles are more versatile and better to drive than ever before. Yet the segment's sales took a dive during the recession and haven't come back, Automotive News reports.
Automakers just reported their most recent sales numbers, with things looking up virtually across the board. Despite that, and despite the fact that it's summer, sales of that quintessential warm-weather car, the convertible, are down. Droptops normally account for two percent of the overall car market, but that tumbled to just above one percent in 2011. What happened to bring down the car that was once a symbol of hedonistic driving freedom out on the open road?
Chevrolet Camaro Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery
There's been a spate of vehicles given the roofless treatment since 2003, which helped keep registrations of convertibles growing since then. 2007 saw the trend reverse, though, with registrations of droptops sliding by 8.6 percent, says R.L. Polk & Company. Polk's folks contend that while there's now plenty of selection with fancy retractable hardtops, the economic slide is putting downward pressure on some luxury items. While it might be difficult to describe the ghastly petrochemical disa