We all know that car sales are going away in favor of crossovers and SUVs. But sports cars are a subset that we would expect to be thriving; especially with some of the great cars out now. But 2020 laid some bad news at the altar of the sports car. Sales tanked in 2020. With these numbers coming out of Europe we are seeing the probable end of the sports car class of vehicle.
The numbers don’t bode well for the future of the sports car
It shouldn’t be happening, but it is. In spite of the rabid enthusiasts in the sports car segment, the numbers don’t bode well for the future of the sports car. Registrations in Europe dropped a third to 13,700 units. Pony cars dropped more than that, with an estimated 8,000 units being sold. This segment was never particularly strong across the pond, but along with the other segments here, it paints a gloomy picture overall.
Convertibles have never been huge sales leaders, but they have a following. By the end of the 1970s, they were gone in the US. But into the 1990s there was a revival of the convertible we thought would be sustainable. But it looks like it may not be.
Sales of convertibles in Europe dropped almost 45%
Sales of convertibles in Europe dropped almost 45%. Where will this lead? First of all, most crossovers and SUVs are not configured for or are expected to include convertible versions. Yes, there were outliers like the Nissan CrossCabriolet and Land Rover Evoque convertibles. But both were failures that only lasted a couple of years each.
Those still wanting convertibles can snap up the classic SUV Jeep or Bronco. They are still available for those wanting their hair blown. But convertibles made from coupes are thinning out mainly because the coupe part of the equation is thinning out. The new breed of sports cars like the Porsche Taycan don’t need two doors to be sports cars. As much as a two-door Taycan would be quite striking nobody is particularly begging for one.
The Mercedes SLC saw sales plummet by half, to about 2,000 units
Sports cars like the Mercedes SLC saw sales plummet by half, to about 2,000 units. The Nissan 370Z was off by 43%, but that might have something to do with its age and also the hype around its replacement. Even the F-Type Jaguar saw a dip of 20% and the Porsche 718 dropped by 14%.
All Pony Cars are way down with the aged Challenger taking the least amount of a hit at 18%. Mustangs were off by almost 30%, while the Camaro saw an eye-watering plunge of 93%. Its convertible counterpart saw an almost 100% elimination with just 20 sold in all of Europe last year. Its rival the Mustang convertible saw a drop of over a quarter with just 1,800 sold.
Once we get the numbers for the US we’ll revisit this alarming trend. But be forewarned that the sports car and convertible are on thin ice. Enjoy them while you can.