French automaker Citroen will reportedly move to the entry-level market in the coming years.
Reuters says, as a part of the new “back in the race” strategy, the brand needs to move towards its roots – to become a more affordable, downmarket marque.
The first step in the plan has already been taken with the C4 Cactus. With about 14,000 EUR ($19,000) price tag, the vehicle is positioned well below the compact segment rivals such as the VW Golf and General Motors' Opel Astra. The car has a fresh take on the design, incorporating bench seats and rugged-looking squishy plastic "Airbump" exterior door panels made by German chemicals giant BASF.
Clever and simple design will be a key part in the company's recovery strategy. Alexandre Malval, Citroen’s chief designer, says “everybody else is trying to express aggressivity and sportiness”, but he believes “that’s a bit dated, and Citroen should go its own way”. Citroen product chief Pierre Monferrini adds that the C4 Cactus“is not supposed to be a niche car; it’s a vehicle with broad appeal”.
Citroen’s new chief executive, Carlos Tavares, envisions the PSA group divided into three layers with the DS standing on top as a standalone premium brand, the Peugeot moving slightly upscale and rivaling the likes of Volkswagen and the Citroen offering more entry-level products.