More than 300 young women, sporting curly chestnut brown-dyed hair, heavy makeup and manicured nails crowded into a Toyota showroom, peering at a Prius painted candy-apple red and decorated with rhinestones and heart-shaped pink stickers.

"I'm not really interested in cars," said Erika Horiki, 23, who wore a cowboy hat, fringed boots and denim shorts to the Odaiba, Tokyo, showroom. "But by making us think these cars are cute, it's a step toward becoming curious."

Cars have lost their "cool factor" in Japan among young people, contributing to a decades-long decline in sales. To attract women, Toyota Motor Corp. came up with the DecoPrius, inspired by the jewel-covered DecoDen mobile phones. Honda Motor Co. has enlisted the help of Cozy Tomato, a book and magazine illustrator, for storytelling events centered around cars for young mothers and their children.