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UK Drivers Defy the Unpredictable British Weather as Convertible Car Sales Soar

Press release: 18/06/2011

  • The number of convertibles on UK roads has doubled over the past decade to nearly a million (911,495)
  • One in four drivers takes the top down come rain or shine
  • Half of drivers would put the heater on rather than put the roof up
  • Mercedes SLK is Britain’s current favourite convertible

British drivers are determined to defy the unpredictable UK weather as convertible car sales soar, new research shows.

The number of convertibles on our roads has shot up by 218% over the past decade [1] - and by 599% since 1993 - making them the fastest growing car type in the UK with ownership at a record high of nearly a million (911,495).

This summer could see convertible car fans finally getting value for money, with forecasters predicting a scorching July and August [2]. Yet the findings show that even if the weather doesn’t live up to expectations, convertible owners are not deterred by the UK's typically damp climate, with owners putting down their roofs at every given opportunity.

On average, the nation's convertible drivers put their roof down 10 days out of every month, even dropping the hood for an average of three days each month in the depths of winter. A quarter (25%) of convertible drivers admit to driving their car with the roof down in any temperature as long as it's dry, with a small number leaving the roof off even in rain and snow. Nearly half of drivers say they’d rather stick the heater on than put their roof up.

Feeling the wind in their hair is not the only factor driving the surge in convertible vehicles on UK roads, with their looks and status playing a major role in their growing popularity amongst drivers. It would appear that we are a nation of posers as one in ten convertible owners say they bought their car to impress their friends and family. However, nearly a third (30%) of owners say they bought a convertible because it is their dream car.

Older Brits are also turning to convertibles as a way to maintain a sense of adventure. Close to a fifth of owners bought their first convertible car in their fifties, with more than one in ten (13%) saying owning a convertible helps them recapture their lost youth.

According to LV= statistics the availability of more affordable models is also contributing to the booming convertible market, with models such as the Peugeot 206 CC Allure and Renault Megane Dynamique VVT convertible both featuring in the top five most insured convertibles' alongside perennial favourites like the MG or Mercedes SLK.

Yet with convertibles surging in popularity, the insurer is warning owners to take precautions against damage. LV= claims data shows that convertibles are more prone to vandalism and criminal damage compared to other car models [3]. Research among owners finds that a quarter (24%) of owners have experienced vandalism or theft to a convertible car they’ve owned, with malicious damage to the body of the car (7%) and ‘keying’ being the most commonly reported vandalism.

John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= car insurance, said: "The British love affair with convertibles is one of the unique ironies of our island nation and our research has shown just how dedicated convertible owners are to making the most of their motors - come rain or shine. For many, nothing beats feeling the breeze in your hair – whether winding your way along the South Coast or popping to the shops. However, as one of the most desirable types of cars on the road, convertibles are more prone to vandalism, so we’d urge drivers to ensure they’re taking steps to keep their vehicle safe. With this summer tipped to be one of the hottest on record, convertible car owners should take every opportunity to enjoy it."



Notes

ICM interviewed a bespoke sample of 500 convertible drivers online between 2 -6 June 2011. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.co.uk

LV= is a registered trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs around 4,500 people, serves over four million customers and members, and manages around £8.0bn (as at 31 December 2010) on their behalf, via LV= Asset Management (LVAM). We are also the UK's largest friendly society and a leading mutual financial services provider. www.LVAM.co.uk.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. www.LV.com.


Growth in car types in the UK, 1993 – 2010:

Number of cars on the road in 1993

Number of cars on the road in 2010

Car type

% change

130283

911495

Convertible

599%

391708

989514

Coupe

152%

1799267

4442006

Estate

146%

6809132

11382556

5 Door Hatchback

67%

7144

10942

Tourer

53%

130697

185117

Sports

41%

2581

2766

Hearse

7%

5433462

5746048

3 Door Hatchback

5.75%

8241

7946

Limousine

-3.50%

479165

287803

Saloon

-39%

4904600

2830289

4 Door Saloon

-42%

658766

96711

2 Door Saloon

-85%

n/a

1687953

Multi Purpose Vehicle

n/a

Most insured convertibles between 2007 – 2011, according to LV= customer data:

Rank

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

1

MG F 1.8I Convertible

Mercedes SLK 230K convertible

Mercedes SLK 230K convertible

Mercedes SLK 230K convertible

Mercedes SLK 230K convertible

2

Mercedes SLK 230K Convertible

MG F 1.8I Convertible

Renault Megane Dynamique VVT Convertible

Renault Megane Dynamique VVT Convertible

Renault Megane Dynamique VVT Convertible

3

Mazda MX-5 Cabriolet

Renault Megane Dynamique VVT Convertible

MG F 1.8I Convertible

Peugeot 206 CC Allure

Peugeot 206 CC Allure

4

Porsche Boxster

Mazda MX-5 Cabriolet

Peugeot 206 CC Allure

MG F 1.8I Convertible

MG F 1.8I Convertible

5

Porsche Boxster S

Porsche Boxster

Peugeot 206 CC (138)

Toyota MR2 Convertible

Toyota MR2 Convertible

[1] According to DfT data, there were 286421 convertibles in the UK in 2000 (Q1), and 911495 convertibles in the UK in 2010 (Q3). This represents a percentage increase of 218%.
[2] http://www.positiveweathersolutions.co.uk/UK-Eire---Long-Range-Forecast.php
[3] LV= internal data