The first of Citroën's C-line cars will be shown at the Frankfurt motor show next month, according to company sources.
The C-line will mark a revolution for Citroën in recasting itself as a value brand that will offer simplicity and be pitched at customers who "seek a balance between cost and functionality".
The first C-line model, which is expected to replace the ageing C3 supermini, will feature "bold" styling but will also be inspired by the stripped-out simplicity of 2010's Lacoste concept. Autocar has learned that the C-line look is to be rolled out across the rest of the Citroën range "as quickly as possible".
Last year Citroën CEO Frédéric Banzet described the C-line as "competitively priced", rather than a direct rival for budget brand Dacia. Manufacturing costs will also be held down by reducing the number of drivetrain and trim options offered.
However, C-line buyers will also be able to customise their car with options such as a large touchscreen and upgraded sound system. Many of these options could be dealer-fitted, further reducing costs for Citroën and reducing delivery times.
Banzet also said the arrival of the C-line would be the last link in the chain of repositioning PSA's three brands. Peugeot will compete against Volkswagen in the 'premium mainstream' market and Citroën will slot in between Dacia and mainstream brands such as Ford, with Citroën's DS arm a 'near premium' brand in its own right.
Last May Citroën also announced that it was separating its design department into two divisions: a new DS studio led by Thierry Métroz, and the C-line studio working under Alexandre Malval.
Malval revealed that part of the C-line philosophy would be to emphasise "ease of use and simplicity". Interestingly, future DS models will drop the distinctive Citroën chevron and develop its own, unique grille styling to distinguish the new brand.