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Car Makers Look to Break Mold, Boost Sales With Oddball Designs

April 4, 2003

This year, the $400 billion car industry is trying to catch shoppers' eyes with looks that are creative head-turners, according to the Wall Street Journal.From Toyota to Rolls-Royce, which is undergoing its first big design change in three decades, makers are trying to stem falling sales with weird angles ("the apple-crate look") and offbeat combinations ("it's a convertible -- and a truck"), the Journal reported."If it seems like everybody's going out of their way to make odd-looking cars, that's because they are," the Journal said.After a decade of the same big SUVs and jellybean-shaped sedans, overall U.S. auto sales fell 1.8 percent last year and are down even more so far this year, according to the Journal. So analysts say the industry is searching for a new look -- or many of them -- for the years to come.Until some winners emerge, buyers may be looking at a sector in transition, the Journal said. Makers are "thrashing about for a design that's going to stick," says Bryon Fitzpatrick, chairman of transportation design at Detroit's College for Creative Studies.
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