Cartell.ie and car sales platform CarsIreland.ie have collaborated to present data on the number of convertibles in the Irish fleet. The results show that convertible cars in Ireland are declining in popularity in recent years especially when compared with their peak sales period during the Celtic Tiger era.
Only 10 have been registered so far in 2022 and a mere 103 were registered with a 2021 plate. The numbers peak with 1906 registered and currently taxed to 2007 and 1567 registered and currently taxed to 2008.
Graph 1 – Convertibles in the Irish fleet 1990 to 2022 (Source: Cartell Carstat)
In total there are 17,394 convertibles in the Irish fleet and approximately 40 per cent of those (8154) have been imported.
The most popular model is the Mazda MX5 with 1068 registered.
The numbers have now fallen to such an extent that less convertibles were registered last year than in many years of the 90s.
Cartell considered why the popularity of convertibles has fallen away:
- Affluence: Convertibles may have been seen as a sign of affluence: they are more popular in the “boom years” – 2003 to 2008
- Pandemic: The Covid pandemic and various lock-downs may have had an impact on convertible-purchases in 2020 and 2021: for example the numbers registered to 2020 is the third lowest number recorded for any year since 1990
- Other body types: The rise in popularity of body types like the SUV may have taken the gloss away from convertible sales as the buyer opts for something more practical yet stylish
John Byrne, Cartell.ie says:
“The convertible may have been seen as a sign of the times during the boom years when open-topped driving was at its most popular. The fall off since then could be due to a variety of factors – obviously the weather is not always kind in Ireland and buyers often opt for more practical options but there has been a shift in the market away from this type of car. The Covid pandemic has clearly also played its part considering only 80 convertibles were registered and currently taxed to 2020.”