Citroen's new C4 Cactus model -- the first car in Citroen's new C-Line range – will go on sale in 2014. Among its highlights are protective body cladding and sofa-style front seating. With this range, Citroen hopes that its mainstream cars will earn a reputation as affordable cars that are practical, frugal, and can be owned with low costs.
The Cactus Concept displayed at the Frankfurt Auto Show last September featured protective cladding on the doors, referred to as Airbumps, as well as with a sofa-style front bench. Inside the Airbumps are air capsules meant to resist scratches and lessen damage from small impacts. Brand executives said that this feature saves owners the cost of repairing the body.
According to Frederic Duvernier, the external designer of the Cactus concept, the feature will be seen on the production car that’s due to start selling in the middle of 2014. He told Automotive News Europe that the Airbumps uses a material that’s highly durable and resistant, comparable to the material on the sole of a Nike Air shoe. He said that the Airbumps will guard the bodywork from small impacts, like being hit by a shopping trolley in a supermarket parking lot.
Duvernier added that the Airbumps will mean that the car can be personalized by black and white or multicolor variations. Citroen's design program director Mark Lloyd said that the sofa-style seating of the Cactus concept will be used in the production model. He said that it costs more to put in a sofa rather than two standard front seats but it creates “a feeling of comfort.”
Lloyd said that simple shapes and plain surfaces will be used on Citroen's C-line cars, very different from the aggressive styling used by plenty of cars on the road. He said that most people want simplicity as their lives are presently “complex and overloaded.” This is why Citroen took out unnecessary equipment and decided to just focus on the customers’ comfort and well-being.
Citroën believes that while the C4 Cactus should be able to meet the expectations of its customers, it needed to be affordable at the same time. In order to lower the fuel consumption, increasing the efficiency was important. However, it was crucial as well to remove anything that was unnecessary. Thus, by making sure the vehicle was lighter, it allowed the brand to put in the smaller new generation engines.
Not only did this lower the vehicle’s fuel consumption but it maximized drivability. Supporting customers, which begins from the initial purchase and all the way to the resale, was also important. Citroën thus implemented an approach much like price plans offered for mobile phones. Customers who would like to own the C4 Cactus therefore were offered different funding choices. They can choose to pay based on the mileage or go for a flat-rate monthly payment, both of which will depend on what countries the customers come from.
While this pioneering service does cover all expenditure, especially when the agreement period is still in effect, it does not include fuel. It does include servicing, finance, and even insurance. Customers who opt for the fixed monthly payment can decide on the trim level they want, like engine or equipment, and the level of service, be it mileage based or all-in, or even, the type of cover. All possible without going over their budget. Citroën disclosed that the budget for the new C4 Cactus is not limited to the purchase price but includes the running costs, like servicing and fuel, to name a few. The goal was to give customer a cost-effect all-round solution.