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Retro styled cars: Is the trend over?

retro car

Is the trend over for retro styled cars? It’s starting to look that way.

Retro design car shoppers in 2003 had a variety to choose from:

  • The VW New Beetle, introduced in 1998, offered front wheel drive economy to go with its cute vintage style.
  • BMW’s sporty MINI Cooper hatchback had been around since 2001.
  • Chrysler’s PT Cruiser was a smash hit on its introduction in 2000, with waiting lists and heavy dealer mark ups.
  • Ford’s revived two seat Thunderbird was introduced in 2002
  • Chevrolet introduced its stylish SSR sport truck with folding metal roof in 2002, ending production in 2005.

What’s left?

  • The New Beetle is still going strong with its 2013 remodel and new name (simply “Beetle”).
  • BMW’s MINI Cooper recently introduced its third generation car
  • Chrysler’s PT Cruiser ended production in 2010.
  • Ford’s Thunderbird was a goner after 2005.
  • Chevy’s SSR failed to find popularity and was canceled after its 2006 model year.


  • Trending downwards? Retro design cars have thinned from the first five offerings to two.
  • The two remaining brands, VW Beetle and MINI Cooper have been restyled with a more contemporary look.
  • Fiat’s retro styled 500 has joined the Beetle and MINI Cooper in offering stylish design in a small car segment. It’s proven successful since its introduction for the 2011 model year.

Is retro design only a sales attraction for sporty economy models? At the dawn of 2014 it appears that way.

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