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Head of the class

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Who better to design a Web site targeting youthful car buyers than young people themselves, figured the executives at Buick.

The division of General Motors enlisted a graduate class at Florida State University to redesign the brand's site for the soon-to-be launched Buick Rendezvous, a sport utility hybrid scheduled to debut in the spring. The class worked with Buick's Internet agency of record, Commerce One, Detroit, as well as McCann-Erickson in Troy, Mich., the brand's national agency.

"We wanted some younger minds first to react to the Rendezvous as consumers and then to look at Web activities," said Jack Bowen, Buick Rendezvous brand manager. Buick recently launched the new site, www.buick.com/rendezvous/, and will keep it running until the Rendezvous' official launch. The student helpers didn't get paid, but Buick is making a financial donation to FSU to support future efforts by the university.

While other FSU classes have designed Web sties for smaller companies in Florida, they were "thrilled" to work on a project "of this size and importance," said Professor Dale Brill.