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Ford is experiencing tremendous success with its new Vista Roof option, a large panoramic sunroof available on their crossover vehicles. Take rates for the inexpensive roof option are climbing as consumers opt for more airiness and light bathed cabins.
Both the Ford Explorer and Flex are popular models featuring the Vista Roof. Almost half of Explorer buyers are opting for the $1,595 Vista Roof, despite Ford expecting a take rate of just 30-35 percent when first introduced. With Edge buyers, 56 percent are choosing the roof and 32 percent of Flex buyers opt for it as well. The Vista Roof’s success in SUVs and crossovers is due to their large interiors that can at once feel claustrophobic for rear passengers but also offer the extra space to best accommodate the headroom-snatching glasswork and mechanism.
Interestingly, there is some degree of regionality to the roof demand. Customers in hot, sunny markets are somewhat less inclined to purchase the option. However U.S coastal regions select the panoramic roof at a near 60 percent rate. Ford has attributed this success to customers desiring more open structures and having more light available. Ford’s success with the panoramic roof only betters its bottom line. One supplier said that the American automaker could be profiting 25 percent or better on the approximately $1,500 average cost.
[Source: Edmunds Auto Observer]
Car buyers are choosing panorama roofs instead of convertibles. Ford has reported that sales of vehicles with panoramic roofs are increasing. Almost half of buyers purchasing the Explorer and Edge SUV are purchasing the option. About a third of Flex buyers are also buying the same skylight paneled cars.
Convertible sales have also decreased accordingly. Traditionally, drop top sales accounted for 1.8% to 2.0% of the automarket which is down to 1.2% to 1.4%, according to information firm R.L Polk & Co. For a comparison, the best selling convertible this year was the Chevrolet Camaro with 7,540 sales. The 2011 Explorer has already sold almost 25,000 vehicles equipped with the panoramic roofs. One reason for this success is that consumers are turning to more practical vehicles and finding that the panoramic roof is a good compromise.
Ford also has its own theory as to why the glass roofs are a hit. “We are seeing more buildings utilizing glass structures because letting natural light in is a popular architectural trend,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s manager of global trends and futuring. “This trend has crossed over to the automotive industry, and Ford’s Vista Roofs open the car to more sunlight which keeps drivers energized and gives the luxurious feel customers desire.”
[Source: LA Times]