The proportion of male buyers of the Chrysler PT Cruiser has increased to 70% while retirees now account for 21%, up from 6% initially.

Style is everything for buyers of the retro 'hot-rod' PT Cruiser, claimed Chrysler Group marketing director Steve Grey as he launched the revised 2006 model line.

Grey said the three top reasons why customers had bought a PT Cruiser all included a reference to style.

"Ninety seven percent said they like cars with unusual styling, 85% said they like cars which attract attention and 82% said they like looking at beautiful cars.

"We have a broad spread of owners - arty bohemian types to out and out style enthusiasts and everybody in between. They can live in the town or country or in any part of the UK, there is no pattern.

"The one thing that pulls all these customers together is they love the unique styling of the car and on average customers buy two of these cars before moving on to a different type of vehicle."

Chrysler expects the current PT Cruiser concept to have at least another five years of model life.

Launched globally in 2000, world sales of the PT Cruiser, which is built in Mexico, and was briefly also assembled in Austria, have reached one million with 120,000 of those sold in Western Europe. The UK is the largest European market with 20,000 to date.

UK sales have fallen from an annual high of 3,628 units in 2003 down to an expected 2,500 this year. Currently 40% of volume is diesel but this should increase to 50% with the uprated 2.2-litre, Euro IV emissions-compliant, 148bhp Mercedes sourced engine. The 2.4-litre 141bhp petrol engine - which replaced the export-only two-litre unit about a year ago - is unchanged.

In 2006 Chrysler UK expects to sell 2,700 PT Cruiser hatchbacks plus a further 900 right hand drive convertible versions after they become available in March 2006. A few LHD versions of the pre-facelift model have previously been sold.

The re-style includes a few minor exterior tweaks such as a new grille and reshaped headlamps.

The interior, particularly the dashboard, has been greatly improved in both styling and materials quality.

Unchanged prices range from £12,995 to £17,225 and 150 limited-edition Route 66 models - in bright yellow or black - have also been launched.

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