Buy your soft top in the winter, don’t sell it!

What is it about drop tops that make buyers behave so irrationally? In the spring it only takes the clocks to go back and a few daffodils to start sprouting and the cabrio crowd come out in force As soon as the frenzy starts demand hots up, supply dwindles and everybody has to pay top dollar, which I guess is just what the market does, why would you buy swimming gear in the winter when all you want to wear thermals and big wellies.

The difference of course is that you can still buy your swimsuit in the summer and probably not pay that much more in reality, but with cars there is a serious premium to be paid.

As there is now a much wider choice soft tops on the market buyers can probably have a long list of requirements and still buy a car which they will be happy with, but why do they always wait till spring and summer?

OK if it’s a new car then the RRP will unlikely be different whatever the season although I can guarantee if a dealer has a soft top in his showroom in December the discount will be far greater than in the sunshine months but buying used can cost thousands of pounds more in the summer than in the winter.

Gone are the days when the convertible was a luxury vehicle which had to be garaged through the long winter months. Most modern convertibles can be driven, without wind noise or rattles, in exactly the same kind of comfort as a conventional car but for some reason we in the trade will be inundated with people trying to bail out of cabs in the winter when they are at rock bottom in terms of price.

This is not a new phenomenon and perhaps it can be associated with SAD syndrome and all things connected with summer must be banished whilst the black mist descends and misery reigns but surely if a large investment has been made in the summer it makes no sense to blow loads of cash by selling low in the winter – the concept of buying low and selling high goes completely out the window (or roof).

Why not just hang on a few months and get the maximum price for the cab? One thing that has always been said in the trade is that if we could afford to stock up on cheap cabs in the winter, lock them up somewhere safe and then sell them for a large profit then an early retirement may beckon. But we don’t know of anyone with the means to do this so I guess we will continue to see this crazy trend carry on.

A great example of this happened the other day when a BMW sales manager I know told me that a customer had come in to his showroom with a virtually brand new September 09 registered Beetle convertible which he had paid nearly £25k for originally and the best bid he had from anyone on a snow ridden freezing January day was £15k. That’s a jaw dropping £10k depreciation in 4 months!

I know it’s a question we always ask but how can you get a purchase of something so expensive so wrong that you are willing to sell it on again for such a loss? I guess that is why no day is the same in the life of a car dealer.

So the rather obvious lesson today is to buy in the winter and sell in the summer, although why not wait and enjoy a few top down days in between before doing the deed!


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