A convertible is a coupe, a two-door car with a back seat and a retractable fabric top.
Nigerians are lovers of a wide spectrum of cars ranging from the petite Kia Picanto, a small Korean hatchback that is probably the lowest-priced car that can be bought brand new, to the massive General Motors’ Cadillac Escalade, a behemoth full-size luxury SUV that announces your presence everywhere you go.
Within these two extremes are a whole selection of various eye-catchers. There are the Toyotas, Hondas, the Mercedes, Fords and you shouldn’t be too surprised if you glimpsed the occasional Ferrari or Posche.
Compacts are everywhere saloons and SUVs abound. Lovely cars they are until you notice that convertibles are not well represented.
Once awhile you might see a Toyota Solara or Mercedes convertible with it’s top down but convertibles are generally few and far between.
The benefits of driving a convertible is visible for all to see.
Easy ingress and egress – if you happen to be the few of us that are really tall, you won’t need to hit you head during entry or bend your neck while driving. Your headroom will be truly sky high.
All round vision – no more door pillars or rear windscreen frames to obstruct your view. You will have all round visibility. Driving and parking is much easier
So why are convertibles not common on Nigerian roads?
The reasons are not far fetched. One of the visions of the makers of convertibles is to make drivers enjoy the sun.
Here in the tropics, we already have too much sunlight with the attendant heat. Dust is also a major concern. A hardtop with it’s much needed air conditioner is much more preferred.
The mechanism for raising and retracting the convertible’s top needs regular maintenance. Since there are few convertibles around. There are even fewer skilled personel to maintain them.
Safety and security:
This is simple to understand – anybody with a knife can gain access to the contents of the car in the shortest time. Not good if you are type that leaves items of value in your car regularly.
It is rare to see a prospective buyer actually looking for a convertible, an imported one is hard to sell for a decent price. A Nigerian used one is even much harder to sell.
There you are. Nigerians like sleek cars but their priorities include convenience, ease of maintenance, safety and resale value. That is why the normal hardtop is more desired that it’s open-roof counterpart.