Used convertible car residual values

The residual values of used convertibles in the UK increased, month-on-month, by up to 5 per cent during May 2007, as demand improved in response to prolonged spells of dry and sunny weather. Reporting on the seasonal uplift in values, EurotaxGlass’s has found that a number of volume-brand drop-tops retain a far greater proportion of their value than prestige-brand models from the likes of BMW, Lexus and Maserati (see table below).

While the Ferrari F430 Spider holds onto its value better than any other 12-month-old convertible on sale in the UK (a typical ’06-plate example retaining 97 per cent of its original list price as a trade value), hot on its heels is the rather more humble Volkswagen Eos (at 94 per cent retained value in 2.0 TDI Sport guise).

“This analysis offers some stark examples of how changing patterns of supply and demand are challenging the market’s preconceptions of which cars hold their value best,” comments Jeff Paterson, Senior Car Editor at EurotaxGlass’s. “Few would expect convertibles such as the Vauxhall Astra Twin Top and Mitsubishi Colt Cabriolet to boast residual values stronger than those of a BMW Z4.”

Below the Volkswagen Eos, in joint third spot, are the Porsche Boxster S and Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG (87 per cent). Close behind in fifth place is the MINI Cooper S Convertible (85 per cent), whose mighty residual value performance is identical to that of two high-performance prestige models, the Audi RS4 Cabriolet, and the Jaguar XK Convertible.
Rounding off the ‘Top 10’ are the Porsche 911 3.8 Carrera S Convertible (84 per cent), the Aston Martin DB9 Volante Convertible (82 per cent), and the Mazda MX-5 1.8 Convertible and BMW 330d Convertible (both at 78 per cent).

EurotaxGlass’s says the convertible market continues to be affected by seasonal peaks and troughs – values fall at a more pronounced rate than the rest of the used car market in autumn and winter, then rise in spring when conventional cars continue to fall in value. What has been noticeable this spring is that the recovery in prices has not been as marked, largely due to additional supply created from rising new car sales in previous years. “It is also clear that coupe-convertible cars with a folding metal roof are affected less by these seasonal patterns than fabric-roof models,” adds Paterson.

There are signs that some buyers are not embracing the coupe-convertible (folding hard-top) format for aesthetic reasons. Dealers representing a variety of marques have reported that some prospective buyers have rejected coupe-convertibles on the basis that it is less obvious to the outside world that they are driving a convertible when the roof is up. “It seems discreet coupe-convertible styling does not flatter the vanity of some owners,” says Paterson. Furthermore, while practicality is not high up on the agenda of used car buyers, a folding metal roof does compromise boot space more severely than a fabric roof.

Richard Crosthwaite, Prestige Car Editor at EurotaxGlass’s, adds, “This is a fashion-led market, where the values of prestige-brand models in particular are influenced by changing tastes and the arrival of new models. Ownership periods are typically shorter than for conventional road cars, with buyers more likely to swap into what they perceive to be the ‘next big thing’. This can make the residual value of a recently-launched prestige convertible amongst the strongest of any used car when supplies are limited. However, even when they are past their first flush of youth, these cars often still boast values that outperform much of the rest of the market – even outside the peak spring/summer season for convertible sales.”

Top 20 used convertibles – ranked by retained trade value after 12 months (2006 UK ’06-plate)

Ranking Model Retained value
1 Ferrari F430 Spider 97%
2 Volkswagen Eos 2.0 TDI Sport 94%
3= Porsche Boxster S 87%
3= Mercedes-Benz SLK55 87%
5= MINI 1.6 Cooper S (Chilli) Convertible 85%
5= Audi RS4 Cabriolet 85%
5= Jaguar XK Convertible 85%
8 Porsche 911 3.8 Carrera S Cabriolet 84%
9 Aston Martin DB9 Volante Convertible 82%
10 Mazda MX-5 1.8i 78%
11 BMW 330Cd Sport Convertible 78%
12= Mercedes-Benz SL350 Convertible 77%
12= Honda S2000 2.0i VTEC 77%
14 Mercedes-Benz CLK200 Kompressor Avantgarde Cabriolet 76%
15= Vauxhall Astra 1.9 CDTi 16v (150ps) Twin Top Sport Coupe 75%
15= Mitsubishi Colt 1.5 CZC Turbo Cabriolet 75%
15= Lotus Elise 1.8 R 75%
15= Peugeot 206 1.6 HDi 110 Allure Coupe-Cabriolet 75%
15= BMW Z4 2.5i Sport 75%
20 Audi TT Roadster 1.8 T (150 bhp) 74%

It doesn’t take much imagination to see why the Ferrari F430 Spider is the UK’s used convertible most in demand. From closed to fully open in only 20 seconds, the F430 Spider is the only mid-rear engined drop-top to boast a compact, fully automatic and full-lined electric hood that allows the engine to be seen at all times. This stylistic flourish comes courtesy of a soft top system designed to take up very little space indeed. The hood itself is also available in a range of four colours: black, navy, beige and bordeaux.

“With a waiting list of around two years, the F430 Spider is one of Ferrari’s most popular models in the UK, so it is no surprise that EuroTaxGlass’s ranked this car in first place ahead of the competition,” said Massimo Fedeli, Managing Director of Ferrari GB. “In fact, we now offer customers of pre-owned Ferrari cars, purchased through the Official Ferrari Dealer Network, complete peace of mind with the Ferrari Approved programme which includes a comprehensive 190-point inspection and a full Ferrari warranty.”

Prices for the Ferrari F430 Spider start at £137,852.