What About a Convertible for Christmas?
Many motorists will have noticed the deteriorating weather now as the clocks have gone back and nights are drawing in. It seems to be getting wetter and it is certainly colder, so clearly it is the ideal time to buy a convertible.
This is not as crazy as it sounds. As the weather forecasts begin to focus on dropping temperatures and the windy and rainy conditions, it is only natural that we start to feel a little chilly and even a bit exposed. If we happen to be thinking of buying a car, this can seriously skew our buying decision. We are more likely to look at all the leaves and water on the road and think of the coming snow and storms. In response, buying a chunky SUV or MPV might seem a good idea.
Car dealers and even manufacturers are well aware of this. Demand for SUV-type cars will go up at this time of year, which means that the car dealer will want to stock up and hence the manufacturers will make more of these models. So what about all of these convertibles? The truth is that any dealer has a limited amount of space on his forecourt, and he is not going to want to fill it up with cars that are not selling. Margins are super-tight in the car industry, and having a convertible sitting in your showroom all winter can tie up a considerable amount of cash. And it is not just the cash tied up in the actual car. Imagine if the space taken up by the convertible was filled instead by a popular SUV. This means that the dealer could have many more customers look over the car, take a test drive and, ultimately, buy the SUV. This is what the economists call the opportunity cost — the dealer is losing the opportunity of making sales.
If you are a car dealer, then you are clearly going to have second thoughts about giving over showroom space to a convertible at this time of year. The sticker price on the convertible may say £20,000 but, as we have seen, few people will be buying at this time of year. So what is the dealer to do? He could do nothing, of course, in which case he suffers all of those costs discussed above. He might move the convertible to a quiet corner of his lot to free up the showroom space and avoid the lost opportunity cost, but he will still have the money tied up in the car, and it will be even less likely to sell in that dim corner of his yard. What is more, the manufacturer will probably be bringing out a new model in the spring and that convertible will suddenly be out of date.
The obvious answer is that the dealer will discount the convertible in order to move it on, releasing the cash tied up in the vehicle and gaining space to sell more seasonally popular vehicles. This is borne out by CAP, the car valuation specialists. Their statistics show that the average price for a used convertible in the UK in May of this year was £17,286. This had dropped to £15,944 by August, and prices have dropped even more sharply since then.
This is great news if you are in the market for a convertible, and it may not be such a silly idea as many clearly think. Despite what the media gasps about, British weather is really quite mild. What is more, the standard of insulation and waterproofing in convertibles has become much better, so there really isn’t much to worry about from the cold and rain. You are also likely to own your car for at least a few years, so you are going to experience winter in a convertible whenever you buy it.
If you are thinking on cashing in on a discounted convertible, however, you need to move quickly. The data shows that the best prices are to be had between now and Christmas, with prices rising early in the New Year as dealers begin to stock up for the spring trade. There could be worse things to find in your Christmas stocking that a shiny new convertible, so get writing to Santa soon.