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  - 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 . 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 . 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."