Volkswagen will halt production of the Eos cabriolet in May or June 2015 as it sees a shift in customer preferences away from convertibles in general and retractable hardtops in particular. A VW spokesman confirmed a report of the matter in Automobilwoche, saying that the production lasted nine years and 230,000 units.
VW builds the Eos at its site in Setubal, Portugal, where it also produces the Scirocco coupe, Sharan large minivan and its sibling, the Seat Alhambra. The stop-production of the Eos will not affect work at the site. The spokesman noted that in June 2014, VW announced a EUR677-million investment into the Setubal site by 2018.
Sales of convertibles produced by volume carmakers dropped 20 percent in Europe to 65,737 in 2014, according to figures from JATO Dynamics. The Eos logged a 14-percent fall to 3,197 units. Even the Opel Cascada folding softtop model failed to perform as expected due to the dropping demand for convertibles.
General Motors plans to rebadge the Cascada for export to the United States as a Buick early next year and to Australia this year as a Holden. On the other hand, sales of premium convertibles managed to fend off declines in Europe as models like the Porsche Boxster, BMW Z4 and Audi TT even surged 1 percent in the region to 81,360 in 2014.
Citing internal documents, Automobilwoche reported that the Eos would be discontinued in May, with the last orders taken at the end of March. Sales of the Eos commenced in May 2006, when demand was high for affordable folding hardtops. Since the Eos as longer dimensions than other convertibles, its rooftop had to be split into five sections rather than three.
This had resulted to some cases wherein leaks led to the buildup of mold in certain parts of the car. VW is shifting away from the cabriolet segment to focus on SUVs, currently the hottest product around. In July 2014, VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn told managers that priorities in product planning had to be shifted due to falling demand for convertibles in general.