PSA Peugeot Citroën chairman Philippe Varin believes that the plan to push Peugeot upmarket, Citroën into making simpler models and joint ventures with Toyota and General Motors can help to keep his corporation afloat.
Varin said that a brand repositioning at Peugeot will inject more “emotion” and personality into the Peugeot brand, a process that has started with the 208, 2008 and 308. “There will be an emphasis on French elegance and driving fun,” he said.
At the Frankfurt motor show next week, Citroën’s future as a maker of simple, user-friendly models (rather than a budget brand to rival Dacia) will be outlined with a new concept car called Cactus. This previews a new range of models called C-Line, the first of which is set to be a replacement for the C3. The C-Line models will sit alongside the premium DS models in Citroën’s range.
“There has been too much overlap between Peugeot and Citroën,” said Varin. “With Citroën’s C-Line, we recognise that customers don’t care about engines but want a car that’s simple to use, ‘smart’ and friendly — not a low-cost car but a high-value car which does things differently. The DS line is about French luxury and a brand in itself in China.”
The DS cars show that PSA can “do premium”, said Varin, pointing out that the biggest client of Faurecia, PSA’s seat and trim manufacturing company, is the VW Group.
Varin said the early stages of the PSA restructuring were positive. After writing off €3bn of a €5bn loss in 2012, he said PSA was “€200m ahead of where we thought we would be for the first half of 2013”. It is targeting growth in China and new joint ventures to lead the recovery.
He said: “There will be joint projects with GM, a new B-platform and B/C-segment MPVs. And GM will use our new three-cylinder engines. We are working with Toyota on a new-generation city car and will share our Valenciennes plant with Toyota for new commercial vehicles.”