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Next Mercedes Convertibles to Drop the Folding Hard Top?


It's all about reducing weight and production costs.

For decades, the Mercedes-Benz SL has been one of the most famous models the German automaker has produced. It’s a true luxury grand tourer in every way possible, and has become the benchmark competitors strive to surpass. Even the smaller and less expensive SLK roadster has had its share of popularity, and it has taken on a personality all its own. And what both cars have in common is a folding hard top, although it's uniquely designed for each.

Despite adding both weight and cost, customers have grown used to the retractable roof, but now it appears Mercedes may eliminate it altogether. Sources are claiming that because sales of both models have decreased significantly over the past few years - a result of the global recession - that retractable roof may be eliminated completely. In its place would be an electronically operated fabric roof, which was last seen in 2002. The benefit here for both cars is that fuel consumption would be decreased thanks to the reduced weight. In addition, Mercedes is reportedly looking for ways to cut production costs by having the cars share more parts. An electronic soft top roof is something that’s more easily adaptable to both.

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