Following the direction of the overall automotive market, convertible registrations in the U.S. declined 8.6 percent in 2007 after several years of continuous growth, according to R. L. Polk & Co. For the first time since 2003, the segment dropped below 300,000 new registrations, landing at 299,661. The Ford Mustang remained the segment leader with 32,694 registrations despite a decline of more than 33 percent from 2006. Overall automotive market registrations fell by 3.4 percent in 2007. “Although the convertible market continued to grow in 2005 and 2006 despite declines in the general market, it was not immune to 2007’s depressed economic climate,” said Mark Pauze, senior solutions consultant for R. L. Polk & Co. “Despite the increased availability of retractable hardtops, which have made convertibles more appealing to many consumers, they are still considered discretionary purchases and were impacted by reduced consumer spending and conservative economic attitudes.” Even with the decline in registrations, convertibles still held a fairly stable share of the overall light vehicle market at 1.9 percent in 2007, down slightly from the 2.0 percent share it had over the past two years. Convertible registrations remain above the level seen in 2004 which was at 1.8 percent of the market. Several new models were introduced in 2007, including the BMW 335, BMW 328, Aston Martin Vantage, Audi RS4 and Mercedes Benz SLR. Following the Ford Mustang in total new registrations for 2007 was the Chrysler Sebring convertible (20,373 registrations), followed by the Toyota Camry Solara (18,090 registrations), Pontiac Solstice (16,615 registrations) and the Mazda MX5 Miata (15,123 registrations) “The Ford Mustang convertible continues to rely on its iconic stance in the convertible market,” said Pauze. “It is a good value and a classic vehicle, but it is coming under competitive pressure from new convertibles including retractable hardtops such as the new Chrysler Sebring and MX5 Miata.” R. L. Polk & Co. is a provider of automotive information and marketing solutions. A privately held global firm, Polk is based in Southfield, Mich. with operations in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.