French carmakers PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Renault will launch flagship sedans for China at the Beijing motor show in April. They are banking on the Chinese nation, which is the No. 1 vehicle market in the world, to mitigate effects of the sluggish sales in their home markets. Citroen will introduce the Metropolis large sedan concept in its production form.
The concept was first viewed in 2010 at the World Expo in Shanghai, according to sources. The sedan is likely to be dubbed the DS9 and will be positioned above Citroen's upscale DS model range. PSA has entered into a partnership with Changan Automobile Group to sell the upscale DS range in the Chinese country by the second quarter.
In addition, the joint venture will build the DS vehicles at a new plant in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. Meanwhile, Renault revealed that it will launch the Talisman at the Beijing show on April 23.
The automaker calls this model an upper-range sedan. The company disclosed in a statement that the Talisman will be the flagship model to boost the image of the brand in the Chinese nation. This sedan is founded on the SM7 produced by the company's Korean unit Renault Samsung. The vehicle will be assembled in Korea and will be put up for sale in China alone. The Talisman is larger than the Renault Latitude, which is a Korea-sourced Samsung SM5 marketed in some European markets. Renault is expanding its operations in the Chinese market, which it had left with Nissan -- its alliance partner.
The country is the largest market for Nissan with record sales of 1,247,738 vehicles last year, a 21.9% boost from 2010, thanks to the robust demand for the Teana and Sunny sedans.
In 2011, the company's sales in China were only 24,275 units – but it signified an increase of 65% -- aided by the robust sales of the Koleos SUV. Renault intends to begin manufacturing vehicles in China with Nissan partner Dongfeng. Meanwhile, vehicle sales of PSA in China increased 7.7% to 404,437 units in 2011 while Citroen sales boosted 2.6% to 230,634 units. Peugeot achieved a 15.2% increase in sales to 173,437 vehicles.