When Volkswagen launched the Eos hard-top convertible in 2006, small hard-top convertibles were “in”. Buyers in North America and Europe upheld them as the best of the coupe and convertible worlds, snagging up offerings in the niche segment.
Flash forward to 2015, and the scene is very different. Many automakers are selling fewer and fewer convertibles; this has led some brands to discontinue their drop-top offerings, including Chrysler and its 200 Convertible, or not to offer a convertible variant of a coupe in the first place, as in the case of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus RC, and Cadillac ATS Coupe. And according to reports, Volkswagen has ruled out a successor to the Eos, which — for all intents and purposes — was a two-door Golf with a hardtop convertible roof. The move leaves the upcoming Buick Cascada in a segment all by itself in America, even though the Buick has a a soft-top roof, as opposed to the Eos’ hardtop.
The news comes from Volkswagen R&D chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser, who told Autocar at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show the Eos was down for the count. The move is out of character for the German automaker, which is preparing a full-fledged assault on the U.S. market with new product, including much-needed SUVs, but Neusser explained that the space left by the Eos has been filled by the more charismatic Volkswagen Beetle convertible in the United States and the Golf Cabriolet in Europe. Both also happen to be soft-tops, rather than hard-tops, thereby making them more affordable.
Though we’re sad to see mainstream-segment hardtop verts go away, the notable exception to the trend are super cars. High-end automakers are still producing hardtop convertible versions of mid-engined vehicles left and right, including the Ferrari 458 and McLaren 650S. Though, we’re almost positive that buyers will not be cross shopping a Ferrari 458 with a Volkswagen Eos.