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keeping the bid on our sporty convertibles.

Byline: STEVE HUGHES

DESPITE the dramatic surge in demand for cabriolet cars, two thirds of drivers in the North East rarely, if ever, go topless even on the rare occasions when the sun shines.

This is the remarkable result of a poll just conducted by Audi, which has increased the number of cabriolet cars it offers to meet demand.

Almost half of the owners polled (46%) cited exotic looks rather than wind-in-the-hair driving appeal as their primary reason for choosing a soft top, suggesting that it is the cachet of owning an exotic open car that is the motivator rather than the practicality of having an open or closed choice.

The survey also shows that of those who do like to come out from under the canvas, women owners are actually more likely than men to frequently drive in the open air.

Some 39% of the women polled said they almost always drive with their car open, versus 32% of males, and only 17% claimed that they never drop their roof, compared with 27% of males.

By far the largest age group likely to drive with the top down are 25 to 34 year olds.

The UK is the biggest export market in the world for Audi's cabriolets but this year's washout summer has put a dampener on sales here.

In fact, demand has been dented so much that Audi is admitting that delivery times are being brought forward as a result.

Audi UK director Martin Sander, says: "In the wake of the patchy British summer, waiting times for some convertibles are coming down. Open-top fans may be able to benefit from shorter lead times on models like the A3 and A5 Cabriolets as well as sports cars like the TT Roadster and the R8 Spyder."

The world's best selling convertible car is the Mazda MX-5.

CAPTION(S):

WEATHER BONUS With demand reduced by the weather deliveries of the Audi A3 Cabriolet are being brought forward
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 24, 2012
Words:326
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