When the production of the Citroen C6 ends later this month, France will no longer have a locally produced flagship. Citroen launched its first premium large sedan in the persona of the Citroen DS sedan in the 1950’s, thereby proving that the French could compete with any carmaker in Europe in producing such a product.
While both the C6 and the 1955 DS are both large sedans made by the same parent, but they have different fates. While the original DS certainly pulled people away from Mercedes-Benz, the C6 has been not much of an appeal in the market, losing its edge to German premium brands. In fact, the carmaker only sold 556 C6s in Europe in the first 10 months of 2012.
This makes it easy to discern why Citroen decided to stop production of the model. Citroen’s sister brand, Peugeot, has also decided to leave the large sedan segment. This means that French consumer looking for a locally made large sedan would no longer have any option.
While Renault still produces the Latitude, many car buyers in France have spurned the car because it is a rebadge of the Samsung SM5 that is imported from South Korea. For the first 10 months of 2012, Renault sold 3,792 Latitudes, representing nearly a 59-percent year-on-year drop in sales, according to figures from JATO.
Renault will determine whether to develop a new flagship sedan that would share a platform with the Mercedes E class. The new car would be marketed under Renault's near-premium Initiale Paris sub-brand. However, it remains unclear whether Renault would follow Peugeot and Citroen and shun the large sedan segment dominated by the BMW 5 series, which sold 101,600 units in Europe in the January-October, the Audi A6 (89,300); and the E class (86,400).