Citroen’s plans to project an upscale image in China is facing a big hurdle, no thanks to the fact that a Citroen on the road is typically used as a taxi. Citroen was one of the first Western carmakers to set their foot in China in the early 1990s. The Fukang, a rebadged Citroen ZX, became a best-selling taxi in largest cities in China.
Although PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and local partner Dongfeng Motor discontinued the production of the Fukang in 2009, over 150,000 units are still roaming Chinese roads as part of taxi fleets in large cities. Citroen chief executive Frederic Banzet told Automotive News Europe that advertising campaigns and Citroen sales have helped change Citroen's image in China, but the association potential customers have with “any brand is the cars in the streets."
To help reset the perception of consumers in China, Citroen has made its DS sub-brand a stand-alone marque with its own dealer network, making the country the sole market where the line stands alone. According to Banzet, Citroen also is receiving an image boost in China from targeted advertising campaigns and local output of models like the C2, C4L and C5. [source: automotive news - sub. required]