DETROIT -- The Chrysler group is debating whether there will be a next-generation PT Cruiser, and if so, how strong the retro styling will be.
Chrysler group design chief Trevor Creed says the PT Cruiser's future "is much hotly debated."
Starting next year, General Motors will offer the 2006 Chevrolet HHR, a rival to the PT Cruiser.
Sales of the 5-year-old car are slowing in the US and Europe.
Asked if the PT Cruiser is a one-of-a-kind vehicle and if the market is strong enough to support two retro-styled vehicles, Creed said, "There is much discussion on that right now, and I don't know the answer."
The HHR will be unveiled in January at the Los Angeles auto show. It will be a tall retro-looking wagon that is a little larger than the PT Cruiser.
The HHR's styling may woo the same group of buyers that have been drawn to the PT Cruiser.
Creed says a restyling is planned for the PT Cruiser, but beyond that, "We are not sure what our next move will be."
Industry sources expect the restyling to occur for the 2006 model year. Creed says many Chrysler group executives had expected the PT Cruiser's late '30s styling to attract young buyers. But that didn't happen.
PT Cruiser sales in western Europe for the first 10 months were 16,194, down from 18,480 in 2003.
The Chrysler group could try to attract younger buyers with a contemporary update of the current PT Cruiser, Creed says.
But he adds that if the automaker goes that direction, "Will you attract young people to it, or will you still not attract young people -- and now you have alienated the generation that really did like the PT Cruiser? I don't know."