Hats off to last year's convertible sales champ, the Ford Mustang convertible. In 2005, according to figures from R.L. Polk, total registrations for the Mustang made it America's best-selling convertible. This is the first year since 2001 that the Mustang outsold the Chrysler Sebring.
What's even more impressive is that the Mustang managed the feat in a market that is essentially flat.
"Convertibles have been a small but stable segment for a very long time," said George Pipas, Ford's manager of sales analysis. "If you look at sales figures for North America, the total sales of convertibles usually hovers around 300,000 vehicles. It dipped to around 295,000 in 2003 while last year convertible sales rose to a little more than 324,000."
Total registrations for the Mustang convertible in 2005 were 44,065, an increase of more than 11,000 from 2004. As impressive as the numbers are, 2005 sales were still short of the 2001 Mustang total of 50,256.
The Sebring managed 35,360 new registrations in 2005 while in a distant third came the Toyota Camry/Solara at 21,544. The Volkswagen Beatle was in fourth place with 19,078, while Chrysler PT Cruiser rounded out the top five at 18,232 registrations.
The convertible's success is not that surprising, considering the popularity of Mustang in general. Internationally, there are more than 250 Mustang enthusiast clubs -- more than any other vehicle. Add in the appearance of the Mustang convertible in Hollywood, films ranging from the James Bond classic Goldfinger to Sleepless in Seattle, and the convertible's appeal becomes obvious.
As Mustang Club member Lucy Carroll puts it in the convertible's press materials, "You have to be really ugly not to look good in a Mustang convertible."
Convertible fanciers have even more reason to rejoice. 2006 marks the debut of the Ford Shelby GT500 convertible powered by a 450-horsepower 5.4L V-8 engine, the most powerful factory-built Ford Mustang convertible in history.