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C4 Cactus heralds Citroen reboot in Oz

Decisions, decisions: Customers pre-ordering a Citroen C4 Cactus will have access to the full 23,184 combinations of drivetrains, colour schemes, interior trims and optional extras before the available choices are narrowed down in the New Year.

Broader awareness, younger customers and sales boost to come from Citroen C4 Cactus


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1 Sep 2015

THE C4 Cactus is set to become Citroen’s best seller in Australia when it arrives early next year, rebooting the brand, bringing a new and younger demographic to its showrooms and leading to boosts in both sales volume and awareness of the product range on offer.

Promotion of the new compact SUV starts today, with customers pre-ordering before December 31 offered three years’ free servicing and to ability to exclusively pick and choose from the full 23,184 combinations of drivetrains, colour schemes, interior trims and optional extras.

Citroen is expecting around 100 early adopters to take the plunge before the Cactus is officially launched in the first quarter of 2016 with petrol manual and diesel automatic drivetrains and respective entry prices of around $25,000 and $30,000 plus on-road costs.

Speaking at a media briefing in Sydney last week, Citroen Australia general manager John Startari said the brand will “let the market decide what colour and trims we will offer in future”.

He described the Cactus as “a vehicle that will in effect relaunch the marque in Australia, bringing with it a new design language, new focus and, most significantly, new customers”.

In line with the Cactus’ quirky and youthful character, Citroen Australia has designed a personalised mail-out brochure with sticker sheet encouraging recipients to experiment with various exterior options such as protective AirBump panels, roof bars, door mirrors, alloy wheel designs and C-pillar graphic.

Mr Startari told GoAuto the pre-order incentive and pre-launch activities planned – including a dealership roadshow with early production models – will result in strong early sales and that the Cactus will “most definitely” become Citroen’s best seller here.

“When you look at that SUV market and it certainly is the fastest growing and largest segment in Australia now, this is a product that fits right in there but is different enough to stand out,” he said.

“It’s not a vanilla car. This is the car bought on emotion … It’s so significant for us because it is a product that will appeal to a new buyer.

I think the Citroen brand can pull that off it’s known for being a bit different.”

Mr Startari said the anticipated Cactus customer demographic was in their late 20s and early 30s, while Citroen Australia product manager Glenn Reid said the average age of those visiting the brand’s showrooms was currently in the 50s.

“We certainly want to remain true to our roots and have product that continues for those who are loyal to the Citroen brand,” said Mr Startari.

“But we want to expand into a new demographic and that (Cactus) is the product that will start our push into that area.

“Volume-wise, because we believe we will have the product line-up to continue the retention from the Citroen database but by appealing to a whole new market we certainly are looking for a lift in volume.”

While emphasising that loyal Citroen customers currently driving about in models like the C4 and C5 will continue to be catered to, Mr Startari promised there were more models in the pipeline to sustain momentum that Cactus will build.

“It’s the first of a whole new suite of cars,” he said. “We are going to launch a whole new suite of product to appeal to a different demographic.”

One generous specification level will be offered across both 81kW/205Nm 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol and 68kW/230Nm 1.6-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine choices.

Standard equipment will include seven-inch touchscreen, satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio, reversing camera and sensors, Bluetooth with audio streaming, single-zone climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, cruise control with speed limiter, heated electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, a leather-trimmed two-tone multi-function steering wheel, front foglights, front central armrest, roof bars, 17-inch alloy wheels and rear privacy glass.

As reported, Australia’s child seat top-tether requirements led to the special development of a split-fold rear bench with Isofix on the two outboard positions and three top tether attachment points across all three.

Having achieved four out of five stars under Euro NCAP crash testing, the Cactus is expected to arrive in Australia with the same score from ANCAP.

Standard safety equipment comprises six airbags, electronic stability control, tyre pressure monitoring, ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and emergency brake assist, hill start assist and LED daytime running lights.

For early adopters at least, the 10 paint finishes can be selected with a choice of four colours for the protective AirBump exterior panels, while three interior trim colour schemes will be offered with both cloth and leather upholstery.

Optional extras will include a panoramic glass roof, white (rather than black) roof bars, contrasting exterior mirror colours, black alloy wheels and a choice of coloured Cactus lettering strips for the C-pillars.

The petrol is five-speed manual only and the diesel is tied to a six-speed semi-automatic with paddle-shifters. Both are fuel-efficient, with the petrol officially consuming 4.7 litres per 100km on the New Zealand combined cycle and the diesel requiring 3.6L/100km under the same conditions.

Helping achieve low fuel consumption figures is the Cactus’ low weight, which is around 200kg less than the (circa 1300kg) C4 hatch and was achieved through the use of the DS3/Peugeot 208 PF1 platform with an aluminium bonnet, widespread use of high-strength steel and laser-welded roof.

Other weight-saving features include a more efficient and effective wash/wipe system that saves 1.5kg by needing a smaller fluid reservoir, pop-out rear windows saving 11kg over standard roll-down versions and a heat-reflecting glass roof that saves 6kg by forgoing a blind mechanismCitroen says the use of a digital instrument panel and a touchscreen that replaces the majority of switchgear also save weight.

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