Brexit bad news for droptop market

14 September 2017 - 19:07 By Thomas Falkiner
The world has something new to blame on Britain’s decision to leave the EU — a lost Volkswagen convertible. The company’s brand chief Herbert Diess has admitted that Brexit and a softening UK market forced it to abandon plans for an all-new convertible.

Europe’s biggest brand abandoned the unloved Eos and walked away from its long-term favourite, the Golf cabriolet, both in the shadow of Dieselgate in 2015. Its sole remaining drop top is the Beetle cabriolet.

"We are concerned about the UK," Diess admits. "We wanted to do a convertible now, but with the relatively weak UK market and the uncertainty about what will happen, we had to think against it. We think ‘hmmmm’ instead. It’s very important for convertibles there."

He refused to be drawn on what type of convertible it had to abandon, but sources suggest he is referring to dumping the cabriolet from the development programme for the next generation of Europe’s most popular car, the Golf Mark 8. It had already been abandoned for the Golf Mk 7.

While Brexit has been cited as the cause of a lot of things, including confusion among the car industry’s supplier base, the cancelling of a global car is a first, and is especially concerning because it wasn’t a decision by a UK car maker.

"We are concerned regarding the market and how it will develop after Brexit," Diess said. "The market also is a bit sluggish and the pound has lost so much value."