Cars that once appealed primarily to women are being redesigned to capture the attention of men as well. One example is the small sports utility vehicle, the RAV4 from Toyota. In the new model, the
automaker has added a bigger V6 engine, lengthened the vehicle by 14 inches, and given it sharper lines. But at the same time the company has kept the sleek, aerodynamic look that appealed to women.
The redesign was prompted by complaints from focus groups that the RAV4 was too small and unsophisticated, said Toyota spokesman Bill Kwong. ''They were finding a lot of males were rejecting it
because it was too cutesy. It was a little toy to them," Kwong said. ''We were trying to attract more male buyers by making it more rugged-looking, more muscular." Other carmakers have taken a
similar tack with some of their models, including Mazda and Volkswagen, which has discontinued the Cabriolet but still markets what is considered the sole remaining so-called "chick" car--the Beetle.
''It has a bud vase in the center console, for goodness sake," said Kelly Toepke, manager of vehicle testing for Edmunds.com. ''I don't know that any man would want a fresh flower in his car."
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