PT Cruiser never clicked with Gen Y

The PT Cruiser had a polarized reputation: people either love or hate its looks. The car grabbed a lot of attention because of its styling. Most people -- not just car enthusiasts – often paused to ponder whether they admired it or not.

Some young people didn't ponder much before they decided they hated it.

Chrysler always intended to generate buzz for the PT Cruiser. And there was buzz. But was the vehicle really supposed to rouse the passion of youth.

When it first came out a decade ago, it was hot and sales quickly peaked. Chrysler touted celebrities that drove it and spread the word that young people wanted a PT Cruiser for its retro look.

Chrysler launched the vehicle during the SUV boom as a small truck, as classified under government rules, to meet fuel economy requirements. But in 2005, Chrysler told Automotive News it was now marketing the PT Cruiser as a small car. Doing so hooked in younger buyers, and the company confessed it had dropped the average age of a PT Cruiser buyer by a decade – down to their late 40s.

I know that 40 is the new 20, but this isn't my idea of a young crowd.

I'm not sure this 1930s-looking car ever connected with my generation. Some people my age call it “PT Loser.” I asked some Facebook friends what they thought. One compared it to a hearse.

It didn't help that the PT Cruiser didn't change much in its 10-year lifespan. And with so much media emphasis on environmentalism and being green, it's safe to assume that today's young people care more about fuel economy than they did 10 years ago. You don't want to cruise in a car that only gets 21 miles per gallon.

It's also safe to assume that today's younger people may just be poorer than they were 10 years ago. You know… back when jobs were available.