driving convertibles from a female perspective
ladies who value a convertible asset
The UK is the biggest market in Europe for convertibles with women choosing to buy more and more of these very fashionable cars. So what has lead to this growing phenomenon?
It wasn't that long ago that to take the roof down on any modern sports car or cabriolet meant wrestling with heavy latches that invariably cause frustration and possibly lead to a fist full of broken nails and bruised knuckles. Those days, thankfully, are no more as the trend has been towards power hoods that automatically detach themselves before silently folding away behind a very grateful driver.
This relatively small change to the way convertibles now work has allowed a significant number of new customers, including large numbers of women, to consider convertibles as their first choice of transport. The current generation of convertibles and cabriolets are now no longer seen as second cars and "something for the weekend". They offer a practical solution for modern motoring as well as being a lot of fun to own and drive. The fitting of wind deflectors has also had a huge effect on creating a much more pleasant environment when driving with the roof down. No longer do you have to exit from the car looking like you've spent the last ten minutes in an industrial wind tunnel. These simple devices create a calm and unruffled atmosphere in the cockpit allowing expensive hair styling to stay in place.
These days women are a significant force in the new car-buying sector. They buy over forty per cent of all new cars - many of them convertibles with metal roofs. These cars offer coupe styling with the added benefit of being able to convert to an open-air vehicle in seconds with only the touch of a button.
Another important reason why women are buying so many convertibles these days is that like clothes, sunglasses and shoes, the convertible, for many, has become a fashion icon. They are chic, stylish and they'll get you noticed. That's not to say that men don't value the same qualities. Men as well as women like to be seen driving something that others desire. The difference with women is that they have no inhibitions about saying "Hey look at me" and what's more they enjoy it as well.
Security is always trumpeted as an important reason why women buy certain cars. In the past convertibles were seen as insecure because of their fabric roofs and fallible locking mechanism. It's a fact women didn't feel as secure in a vehicle with a rag roof as they did with a steel one above them. But the statistics show that the fear of being attacked in a car is greater than the reality of what really goes on. Figures from the West Midlands police show that of the 28,000 motorway calls to police only five per cent were from lone women and none involved an assault. Even so, it is of great concern to most women and manufacturers have responded by making their vehicles, including convertibles and cabriolets, more secure with alarms, central locking and immobilisers.
At the end of the day, women buy sports cars and cabriolets for largely the same reasons as men. Gone are the days when the only women that car salesmen were interested in were the ones adorning their calendars hanging behind their desks. Today's females know what they want and have the buying power to demand it.