SANTA BARBARA, CA – Not long ago some observers were declaring the convertible D.O.A. But hot new products from a number of auto makers are beginning to breathe life back into the segment. In 1996, convertible registrations accounted for only 1.3% of the U.S. market, according to R.L. Polk & Co. That number surged to 1.9%, or an additional 103,000 units, in 2002. Mercedes-Benz has had a long-standing commitment to the market. Its halo SL roadster has been a fixture in the luxury ...

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