Experian Automotive analysis shows consumers who drive with the top down are more educated and affluent than the general population

Experian Automotive analysis shows consumers who drive with the top down are more educated and affluent than the general population
Analysis also shows that California and Florida account for 23 percent of all convertible vehicle registrations

Schaumburg, Ill., July 22, 2014 — In the spirit of the summer season, Experian Automotive released findings from an analysis looking at trends on the ultimate summertime vehicle, the convertible. The analysis shows that during the first quarter of 2014, convertible car buyers tended to have a higher education and were more affluent than the average new car buyer.

In Q1 2014, more than 50 percent of all convertible buyers had at least a bachelor’s degree, while only 38.2 percent of average new car buyers had a similar education level. Additionally, nearly 19 percent of consumers purchasing a convertible had an average household income in excess of $175,000, and 11.7 percent owned a home valued at more than $1 million. Conversely, only 10.7 percent of average new car buyers had a household income of the same level, and only 4.4 percent owned a home valued at the same price.

“The one long-standing perception of convertible vehicles is that they are driven predominately by consumers who live in sunny, coastal areas,” said Brad Smith, director for Experian Automotive. “While that notion certainly rings true, it’s not the only difference. Our research shows that convertible drivers also tend to be more affluent than the average new car buyer. One explanation to this could be that more luxury brands tend to have a convertible option.”

As part of the analysis, Experian Automotive also looked where the majority of convertibles were registered in Q1 2014. Findings show that 23 percent of all convertibles* in the United States were registered in either California (13.4 percent) or Florida (9.6 percent), with Texas (7 percent), New York (4.3 percent) and Illinois (3.9 percent) rounding out the top five.

Furthermore, the top five designated market areas (DMA)** for convertibles in Q1 2014 were Los Angeles, Calif. (6.4 percent), New York, N.Y. (5.2 percent), San Francisco, Calif. (2.9 percent), Chicago, Ill. (2.9 percent), and Atlanta, Ga. (2.5 percent).

Additionally, the top five convertible vehicle models on the road during the first quarter of 2014 were the Ford Mustang, Chrysler Sebring, Mazda Miata/MX-5, BMW 3-Series and Chevrolet Corvette. The analysis also found that the Ford Mustang was the convertible vehicle model of choice across all 50 states.

Top five convertible vehicle models on the road, Q1 2014

1.   Ford Mustang

2.   Chrysler Sebring

3.   Mazda Miata/MX-5

4.   BMW 3-Series

5.   Chevrolet Corvette

Other findings include:

• In Q1 2014, more than 72 percent of all consumers purchasing a convertible were older than the age of 45, while only 60 percent of average new car buyers were of the same age
• During Q1 2014, nearly 52 percent of consumers purchasing a convertible did not have the presence of a child in the household***; only 42 percent of average new car buyers did not
• There were 4.5 million convertible vehicles on U.S. roads in Q1 2014, making up 1.8 percent of the entire vehicle market
• The top five convertible vehicle makes on the road in Q1 2014 were Ford, Chrysler, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Chevrolet
• The DMA with the lowest volume of convertible vehicles in Q1 2014 was Glendive, Mont.

Roslyn Whitehurst
Experian Public Relations
1 714 830 5578
Twitter: @RozWhitehurst

About Experian Automotive
Experian Automotive provides information services and market intelligence that enables results-driven professionals to gain the fullest possible understanding of the market, the vehicles and the people who buy them. Its North American Vehicle DatabaseSM houses data on nearly 700 million vehicles and, when combined with Experian’s credit, consumer and business information, provides an integrated perspective into the automotive marketplace. Experian Automotive’s AutoCheck® vehicle history reports provide dealers and consumers with in-depth information, allowing them to confidently understand, compare and select the right vehicles. For more information on Experian Automotive and its suite of services, visit our Website at http://www.experian.com/automotive.

About Experian
Experian® is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2014, was US$4.8 billion. Experian employs approximately 16,000 people in 39 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.

Experian and the Experian marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

*For this analysis, the convertible vehicle population excludes Jeeps
**Designated market areas (DMA) are property of Nielsen
***The presence of a child between the ages of zero and 18 years old living in the household