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Future models - Citroen - C4 Picasso

Citroen C4 Picasso ready for Oz

Art class: The Citroen C4 Picasso is based on the Technospace concept from this year’s Geneva motor show.

Five-seat C4 Picasso set for Q2, 2014 launch at the expense of other Citroen model

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Citroen logo19 Aug 2013

THE introduction of Citroen’s striking C4 Picasso mini people-mover to Australia will come at the cost of another model in its local line-up, according to the French car-maker’s local chief.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the DS3 Cabrio last week, Citroen Australia general manager John Startari said the car was not initially on the local distributor’s radar, but is now all but confirmed for a berth in the second quarter of 2014.

But Mr Startari said shoe-horning the sleek hatch into the French car-maker’s local line-up would prove difficult and almost certainly spell the end of at least one variant from another model line.

“I saw it in the flesh and it is a stunning car,” he said. “The only issue we have is where does it fit, it is really in that C4 Exclusive and DS4 range. We don’t want to have 50 different variants selling 2300 cars so we are going to have to give something up for that. It’s a matter of is that going to be more appealing than what we have got now.”

Mr Startari stopped short of confirming which model or variant would be discontinued to make room for the C4 Picasso, but the top-spec C4 Exclusive that is priced from $33,490 or the premium $34,990 DS4 DStyle hatch seem likely.

This would indicate a sub-$35,000 starting price for the petrol-only C4 Picasso.

Mr Startari said bringing the car to Australia came down to price and specification, but local Citroen dealers had expressed strong interest in it.

“We showed the dealers our strategy and asked for their input. They are sold on that car and they think we should bring it in. The technology on that car is ground-breaking.”

Mr Startari said the cost of launching an entirely new model in a market like Australia meant it was inevitable that one model is taken off the showroom floors to make way for a new one.

“There is a lot of work involved in homologating and promoting and point of sale and the training and the tooling and those sorts of things,” he said.

“At the end of the day we don’t want to offer up a model because it’s another model. It has huge financial burden on floor plan limits an inventory we have to hold.”

Not to be confused with the larger, seven-seat C4 Grand Picasso that is scheduled for a local launch in the first quarter of next year, the C4 Picasso was revealed in April and is based on the Technospace concept from the Geneva motor show in February.

The C4 Picasso is strictly a five-seat hatch with a flexible cabin and is the first vehicle to be built on PSA’s Efficient Modular Platform 2 (EMP2) that will also underpin the next-generation Peugeot 308.

Citroen also confirmed the facelifetd C3 light hatch will launch in October this year with more competitive pricing than the previous model, with Mr Startari telling GoAuto the French brand is “looking for big things out of that car”.

“It will be positioned below C4 (which starts at $20,990) for the first time in many years and we think there is a volume opportunity there, but C4 would be our volume seller.”

One model that definitely won’t be getting a local berth is the DS5 Hybrid 4 diesel-hybrid, with Mr Startari confirming that the company could not make a solid business case for the car in Australia.

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