With all of the new Lotuses, the fabulous looking Jag concept car and the three exciting WRC launches, it was easy to overlook Citroën’s show car, the Lacoste.
Okay, so this particular car is a flight of fancy and even Citroën’s boss Frederic Banzet told me that one of its purposes was to allow the design team to stretch itself.
But philosophically it could prove to be terribly important to the company. You see it turns out that one of the passions of the charismatic Mr Banzet is to launch a stripped-out, back-to-basics car. Just like the Lacoste, or the 2CV and other past models, if you consider the company’s impressive heritage.
He reckons that there are a rump of people who don’t care about fripperies and gadgets on modern cars and just want a basic model. As long as it looks modern and stylish.
Banzet is keen to stress that we’re not talking about a super low-cost car, however, merely a good value one. Something chic enough to justify a small premium no doubt. And nor will it compromise the rest of the range, either. Look back 40 years and you would have found a 2CV and a DS in the same showroom he was quick to point out.
Nor will customers accept a complete shell of a car, either. The last concept to show off this philosophy was the C-Cactus. But customer clinics quickly told them that a car without even a dash was just going too far. Which is why the Lacoste has a pleasingly simple dash, with good-looking digital displays running across it.
I liked the Lacoste quite a bit. I particularly liked the thinking behind it. And if any company can carry off a trendy, stripped-out car then surely it’s Citroën?