Small Breakthrough

Automakers are going to school to create a hip new generation of cars for echo boomers

At the auto industry's annual coming-out party in Detroit last week, carmakers sent a loud message to baby boomers: Get in the backseat. Young, young, young--the word came up over and over again at virtually every one of the North American International Auto Show's glitzy vehicle unveilings. And when the industry's boomer executives weren't making impassioned pleas for attracting younger buyers, they simply turned to the babies themselves, who appeared in person or on MTV-inspired videos, twentysomethings and teeny boppers cooing over the many cars now aimed directly at them. Two of the industry's new youth magnets, the Ford Focus and...

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