Citroen plans to broaden the reach and appeal of its cars by launching a new product family for the ‘iPod generation’.
It would be the fourth Citroen product family sitting alongside DS, the regular Citroën brand and the Picasso MPV family.
PSA Peugeot-Citroën design boss Jean-Pierre Ploué has told Autocar that the firm — flush with a successful DS launch that has encouraged it to raise sales projections for the DS3 — will use this autumn’s Paris motor show to introduce the new sub-brand.
Industry watchers have predicted that Citroën is preparing to launch a budget model line, but Ploué denied the suggestion.
“This is a brand defined not by price, but by simplicity and ingenuity of design,” said Ploué. “It’s our family of cars for those who value design purity above all else: for the iPod generation.
“I cannot reveal its name yet,” Ploué continued, “but this brand will cause a lot of shock and surprise at Paris, I promise you. It’s a real departure for us – a break from tradition.”
Ploué references Citroën’s iconic 2CV as the inspiration for its new model family, “not for the appearance of the car, but for its innovative spirit”.
But the real inspiration for the new brand is the C-Cactus concept from the 2007 Frankfurt show.
A 4.2m-long compact family hatch memorable for its unconventional cabin design, innovative packaging and simplified features, the C-Cactus was deemed “too challenging” to be put into production as a Citroën earlier this year. But as a member of this all-new sub-brand, it seems, it could make the showroom.
“The C3 Picasso would also be a model for the new sub-brand, if we were making it today,” Ploué said. “It’s a youthful, innovative, efficient and simple design.”
Ploué also defined this new sub-brand as a contrast to Citroën’s DS brand. “DS is all about ‘Frenchness’, sculpture and sophistication, while the new brand is the antithesis of that,” he said. “It appeals through its stark, pared-down simplicity, to a different, younger customer than DS.”
One of the first models to be brought out under Citroën’s new brand is likely to be a compact supermini, partly to fill the void left by the deletion of the C2.
“We’re not planning on replacing the C2 as a Citroën, but under the new brand we could use the opportunity to do something much more interesting,” Ploué said.