Awash in brilliant orange paint, sitting on huge alloy wheels and packing a powerful Hemi V-8 engine under its hood, Dodge’s all-new Challenger concept coupe on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is a paean to baby boomers. The original Challenger was one of the popular « pony cars » _ Ford Mustang-inspired small cars with big engines that ruled the road in the 1960s and early ’70s during the baby boomers’ fun-loving teenage and early-adult years. Although only made from 1970 to 1974, the Challenger is back, a powerful statement of the continuing _ and growing _ influence of baby boomers on automotive design and marketing. The front end of the some 77 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 is nearing retirement _ an age that presents car designers with some unique challenges and opportunities. Collectively, this group is capable of spending some $2 trillion a year. That can buy an awful lot of cars and trucks. But the boomers also are at an age where comfort is becoming as important as looks _ even if these children of the ’60s don’t want to admit it. The new Challenger embodies how the industry is addressing the

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