It’s quite possible that Citroen’s plan to produce a sub-set of DS-labelled niche vehiclesusing its mainstream hardware has been part-triggered by its inability to break its discounting habit.
The company appears to find it near-impossible to sell a car without a juicy incentive attached to it. Since Citroens aren’t that expensive in the first place, it’s easy to see that substantial profits are hard to come by.
So building some more desirable, lower-volume models sounds like a good way to improve its profit margins - provided we want them badly enough that Citroen doesn’t need to pay the VAT on the car to induce us to ink the cheque.
We might have to pay a little more for these Citroens, but we might want to, not least because they may encourage the company’s increasingly inspired design department to direct its creativity towards models that we can actually buy.
True, the C4, C4 Picasso, Pluriel and C6 are pretty stylish - strangely, the company seems to get little credit for that - but look at concepts like the Hypnos, the GT, the beautiful C-Metisse and C-Airdream, and it seems reasonable to get a little excited about what might come next.
Especially given the heavy hints that it is going to build something similar to the excellent C-Cactus. This is a quirky-looking car, like so many Citroens past, but unlike the company’s offerings of the past 20 years or so, it promises the possibility of innovations that go to the very core of the car.
These include reducing the number of components to cut weight and complexity, as well as the use of new materials and new propulsion systems. Citroen’s new slogan is ‘Creative Technologie’.
If it fully realises the potential of the C-Cactus, it might just earn the words. And there’s reason to be hopeful. Buried in the history section of the new website is a section on heritage, entitled ‘Different is Everything’ which also showcases some cars for tomorrow. The C-Cactus is there, with the line ‘if we build it we’ll be promoting 100mpg and the fact that its MP3 player doubles up as the starter key...’ So come on Citroen - create it, please.