PSA hopes Citroen to flourish as a frugal brand

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 1, 2014

As PSA/Peugeot-Citroen aims to depart from its loss-making ways and seek profit, a revamp of its Citroen brand to have a purely frugal image will be a key. PSA is moving the brand down-market, and an evidence of it is the C4 Cactus compact car. The car boasts of weird features like bench seats and rugged-looking plastic "Airbumps" on the sides and bumpers, as developed by BASF.

The C4 Cactus presents itself as utilitarian car, drawing on the current market shift to functionality and technology. Citroen product chief Pierre Monferrini remarked that the C4 Cactus is not supposed to be a niche car, but one with broad appeal.

With Carlos Tavares sitting a chief executive of PSA, the high-end DS lineup is breaking from Citroen to become a standalone premium brand. This allows Citroen to offer budget models while the Peugeot brand takes on the mid-market.

PSA has long been deprived of growth no thanks to its costly local industrial base as well as an absence of budget models that would take on popular brands like the Duster. Thanks to recent stake sales to Dongfeng Motor Group and the French government, PSA was able to raise EUR3 billion ($4.1 billion) needed to get its turnaround plan running.

C4 Cactus is currently underpinned by the same platforms – albeit modified – that underpins the smaller C3 and Peugeot 208 subcompacts, thus saving costs. PSA has no dedicated no-frills platform.

The C4 Cactus offers engine versions with power ranging 75 hp to 110 hp. Citroen chief designer Alexandre Malval remarked that aggressiveness and sportiness is “a bit dated,” saying that the brand should go its own way.

Coming as standard for the C4 Cactus are electronic tire gauges and a large touchscreen as well as mechanical handbrake, ignition key and pop-out rear windows. [source: Reuters]

Topics: psa, citroen

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