The once cutting-edge PT Cruiser is set for an update, but could the next generation PT fall prey to riding the retro wave for too long?

The once cutting-edge PT Cruiser is set for an update, but could the next generation PT fall prey to riding the retro wave for too long?

The current PT Cruiser draws on styling themes from Chryslers of the late 1930s. But will the new set of owners have the same interest in buying another anachronistically styled car.

"Clearly, we have to understand the lifecycle of certain statements and not overdo them," Chrysler group CEO Dieter Zetsche said.

Zetsche said Chrysler was still in the phase of figuring out whether the successor would have the same retro design cues as the current PT Cruiser, or whether its design would be more contemporary and represent some of the PT’s utilitarian points.

If the decision is made to produce a more contemporary-looking vehicle, it would have to have some specific PT Cruiser design cues, such as the grille, to be a legitimate successor, Zetsche said.

"We want to make sure that people say, 'OK, that's the new PT Cruiser,' even if that potentially means relatively little resemblance to the current one," he said.

The redesign is expected around the 2008 model year, but before then the manufacturer is planning to release a convertible, which should reach international markets later this year.

PT Cruiser will probably receive a face-lift next year. Styling at the front end will feature a new, flatter nose and round, chrome-ringed headlights. Additional styling changes include flared edges around the front and rear fenders, and a smoother rear bumper.