The open-top concept car is based on the same underpinnings as the production Cactus hatchback and takes styling inspiration from the Citroen Mehari lightweight off-road vehicle, which was sold from 1968 to 1988.
“We are testing to see what the reaction is,” said Citroen boss Linda Jackson. “We’ve done it to take Cactus a bit further. Clearly there is a hint, a little spirit of Mehari.”
She said that a convertible production model has not yet been signed off but remains a possibility: “It isn’t planned for production but we are testing reaction, and it has been a fantastic reaction.”
However, any production version would be more toned down than the wash-clean, waterproof model on the show stand, as Jackson said: “If we were to produce one it wouldn’t be like that, but who knows?”
Despite its Cactus platform, the concept is a permanent open-top car. The only roof it comes with is a lightweight canvas arrangement that can also double up as a tent. It takes strong inspiration from the Aircross concept, which was shown at the Shanghai motor show earlier this year.
Frédéric Duvernier, Citroen’s external designer responsible for concept cars, said that the Cactus M is designed to pay homage to the Mehari rather than copy it. “There is some pressure. If you respect the spirit of the car it is alright; if you just try to redo the car the same way it is wrong,” he said. “Physically the spirit remains it is true to the original Mehari. It is not a copycat.”
The front and rear of the car are kept largely the same as the Cactus while the rest of the car has been largely redesigned. Unlike the four-door Cactus, the Cactus M is a two-door vehicle.