Low demand for open top cars brings losses to roof suppliers image

Do you fancy a convertible car for the rosy spring days or hot summer nights? Well, unfortunately, chances are in a few years your options would be seriously limited.

That’s because demand for the freeing models has dwindled lately, which attracts numerous problems both for the carmakers and their partners who aid in the process of turning a car into a cabrio. Let’s take the very large VW Group for example. Today it has 12 convertible models across the brands – but CEO Martin Winterkorn is already contemplating a reduction of the lineup. That’s even as the automakers have practically reinvented the segment with the introduction of the retractable hard top – complimenting or turning models with soft-top into cars that can be used all the year.

The only problem is that today customers have reoriented towards the current personification of functionality – SUVs and crossovers. Autofacts, a unit of PricewaterhouseCoopers, says that back in 2007 in Europe and North America were produced around 827,000 cabrios – with the figure dipping last year to 444,000 units.

Webasto, a global supplier of roof systems with an estimated market share of 49%, has moved to close some of its plants to cater for dwindling demand. Valmet, the Finnish roof expert that incorporated Germany’s Karmann in 2010 has decided to close down its soft-top roof assembly facility in Osnabrueck, Germany, by 2017.

Via Automotive News Europe