Article date: 7 June 2007
Soaring temperatures will lead Brits to go topless this summer, as convertible cars top this season's must-have purchases.
Four out of 10 motorists told RAC Vehicle Checks that their dream summer purchase would be a convertible motor. This compares with just 15% wanting to splash out on an outdoor hot tub and just one in 10 opting for a beach hut purchase.
And although just 7% of motorists would buy a convertible as a status symbol, men are three times more likely than women to buy a convertible to increase their pulling power
Six out of 10 motorists (59%) crave a convertible to make the most of the summer weather and a hardy 40% of motorists would brave chilly conditions and go topless in winter months.
The research also suggests that 1.67 million drivers prefer the "Del Boy" convertible look, with 5% of motorists surveyed calling for a convertible Reliant Robin.
With over 100,000 convertibles sold each year over the last three years*, RAC Vehicle Checks says there is no better time to grab a bargain purchase, with prices of second hand convertibles set to fall as the market grows.
Nick Lindsay, head of RAC retail vehicle checks, explains: "The rise in availability of second-hand convertibles means that sellers are having to lower their prices to remain competitive in order to secure a sale. Buyers are therefore not only spoilt for choice, but also far more likely to find their dream vehicle without breaking the bank."
But those seeking a summer bargain are warned to thoroughly check the history of the vehicle before handing over their cash. RAC Vehicle Checks figures show that convertibles account for 6% of all stolen vehicles; 6% of cars identified as having outstanding finance payments; and 7% of vehicles showing a mileage discrepancy, indicating the vehicle could have been "clocked". In addition, convertibles make up 6% of the vehicles declared as having been an insurance write-off.
RAC Vehicle Checks has developed the following tips to prevent motorists getting a raw deal:
- Make sure the car really is a convertible, not a botched job using a cheap conversion kit
- A "fixed roof" adds strength to a car, so ensure that the convertible has not been involved in an accident which may compromise structural strength
- Check carpet for signs of mould and water ingress - a sure sign of a leaking roof
- Check that the hood's seals are in good condition
- Research the cost of replacing the hood, which can be expensive
- If the hood is power-operated, check it is in good working order to avoid expensive repair bills.
For more information about RAC Vehicle Checks and Inspections, visit www.rac.co.uk/checks or call 0800 975 5867.
RAC Press office contact:
Jon Day on 01603 209287/07800 690555 or Vicki Burn on 01603 684224
Notes to editors
1 Figures sourced from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)
Other key regional statistics:
- Motorists in the North East most desire a convertible this summer (53% of those surveyed)
- Londoners are most likely to buy a convertible to impress the opposite sex (6%)
- More Scottish motorists consider a convertible a status symbol than elsewhere in the UK (10%)
- Motorists in Ireland are least likely to go topless in the winter (36%).
Interviews with a case study are available upon request: Rupert Davison, 36, of Norwich, has recently purchased his dream convertible, an Mk1 VW Golf. He is really looking forward to getting out and about this summer and showing off his new wheels.
He has had the car freshly resprayed and thinks it looks great. As a single man, Rupert says that if it helps him attract the ladies, then that's fine by him!
RAC Vehicle Checks commissioned consumer research company, 72 Point, to carry out online research between 22 and 27 May amongst a nationally representative sample of motorists. 1,899 motorists took part in the survey.
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organizations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.
Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 15%.
RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at www.racnews.co.uk.