How cars are designed

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When a car manufacturer decides to produce a new model, the styling, or design, of the new car is one of a number of factors that need to be decided.

The first decision to be made concerns the market category that the new model will fit into - will the car be a small hatchback, family saloon or luxury executive model? Once this choice has been made, along with engineering and packaging decisions such as whether to use front- or rear-wheel drive, the details can be worked out.

In earlier days, it was simply a matter of building a chassis and then styling a body to fit it. With today's space- and energy-efficient cars, the look is now part of the integral design.