NEW YORK – For convertibles, things are looking better from the top down.
Sales bottomed out in 2014 when only 370,000 droptops were sold globally, but that total is projected to reach 550,000-600,000 this year, says Matthew Williams, director-business development for components-maker Haartz, tells the International Motor Press Assn. here.
This year’s projected total remains well short of the record 845,000 sales of convertibles and roadsters sold in 2007. But the number is climbing as more automakers offer convertibles, Williams says.
U.S. convertible sales are paced by German imports from BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group. Ford offers only the Mustang convertible and General Motors sells the Buick Cascada and Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette. The country’s most popular convertible is the Jeep Wrangler. The FCA US brand sold 191,774 Wranglers in 2016, all of them convertibles or equipped with removable hardtops.
“We don't break out soft vs. hardtops,” Jeep spokesman Ralph Kisiel says.
FCA also sells the Fiat 124 Spider, Fiat 500 Cabrio and Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. Other convertibles sold here include the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Rolls-Royce Dawn, Range Rover Evoque and Porsche 911 4S.
Other convertibles are on the way, Williams promises. One will be similar to the Citroen C1 Airscape that has a rigid rear window with a folding soft rooftop that slides back and forth to open and close. An out-of-production VW Beetle had a similar design.
Haartz, which was established in 1922, is the world’s leading supplier of automotive-topping fabrics. Its fabrics are used to cover automotive sun visors, consoles, instrument panels and door panels. Haartz is headquartered in Acton, MA, and employs 500 workers globally.