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What Are The Most Popular Ragtops In America?

Posted in Car Buying, Lists by Kurt Ernst | July 21st, 2011 | 5 Responses |

If you’ve ever owned a convertible, you understand their appeal. In good weather, it’s hard to beat the feeling of the wind in your hair as the sun plays through the branches of the trees overhead. Drive along the coast, and you can smell the sea air; sometimes, you can even taste the salt. At night, few things rival a top-down bast up your favorite road, with nothing but a sky full of stars overhead.

What makes convertibles appealing, however, is also what makes them impractical. Most lack luggage space compared to their coupe equivalents, since the top has to stow somewhere. Cloth or vinyl-top cars are noisy on the highway, and are less than ideal for year-round use. Power retractable hardtop convertibles are expensive and tend to be on the heavy side, which isn’t what you want from a topless sports car. If you want to take your ragtop to a high-performance driving event, some organizations require you to add additional rollover protection, and even simple roll bars can be expensive. Unless you live where the weather’s nice all year long (like Southern California), a convertible is usually just a weekend toy.

That didn’t stop Americans from buying nearly 150,000 convertibles last year, down from a peak of over 300,000 sales in 2006. Which drop-tops are the most popular in the American market this year? Here are the top 10.

1. Chevy Camaro, with 12.4% market share

2. Ford Mustang, with 11.0% market share

3. Mercedes-Benz E Class, with 5.7% market share

4. BMW 328, with 4.7% market share

5. Volkswagen EOS, with 4.6% market share

6. MINI Cooper, with 4.2% market share

7. Mazda MX-5, with 4.2% market share

8. Mitsubishi Eclipse, with 4.1% market share

9. Infiniti G37, with 4.0% market share

10. Volvo C70, with 4.0% market share

Source: Polk

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5 Responses

  1. 68SportFury says:

    I guess the Chrysler 200 hasn’t been out long enough to generate real numbers yet. The Camaro ragtop numbers really should have Chrysler rethinking their decision not to offer a top-down Challenger, though.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      IIRC, the 200 was around number 14 or so.

      The convertible market is actually shrinking, so I doubt any manufacturer will dump significant money into designing a new ragtop.

  2. James Hecker says:

    I find it quite peculiar that the e class convertible is ahead of the 3 series, though just by a hair. I’ve got a 3 series ragtop of my own and I must say that top up highway driving is really quite pleasant, especially compared to my dad’s sebring. As far as not being year round cars, I drove my 3 cabrio as my daily driver during a whole Cleveland winter with no complaints.

  3. I wanted a convertible when I was younger until I started reading about rollovers; if you rollover on the freeway when going fast in a convertible I think your chances from walking away would be rather slim. Another reason why I didn’t get one is (ok I may be a little paranoid) but I think you’re more likely to be a victim of crime in a convertible because you are more “exposed” plus you stand out; it’s easier to get car jacked. I prefer retractable hard tops though, not soft. I think BMW and Mercedes make some really, really nice convertibles.

  4. J D Stadler says:

    I really, really tried to find a way to make a case for adding a MX-5 to our stable, I even offered to keep the 6! It didn’t fly =( One day, it shall be mine.