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Model revisions, price cuts from Citroen

Transparent pricing: Citroen has made the C3’s unique Zenith panoramic windscreen standard and reduced the range to a single specification with two drivetrain choices, from $23,990.

Citroen slashes $6000 from DS3 and up to $14,000 from C5 ahead of new models in 2012

12 Oct 2011

THIS week’s Australian launch of the second-generation Citroen C4 represented the opening salvo in a range-wide model refresh and repositioning for the 2012 model year – with the cost of entry to some models slashed by up to $14,000 – ahead of three all-new models that will be introduced here in the next 12 months.

In coming weeks, the C3 light car, DS3 premium hatch, Berlingo van, C4 Picasso people-mover and C5 mid-size sedan and wagon will all come in for updates and adjustments to their pricing and specification to increase value for money in line with the new C4 range, which is $4000 cheaper than the previous-generation model at from $22,990 plus on-roads.

Heading next year’s new-model rollout will be the DS4 premium small car in the first quarter, followed by a mid-year arrival for the luxury DS5 mid-sizer and the C4 Aircross compact crossover in the third quarter – which Citroen hopes will light the blue touch paper for its sales in SUV-addicted Australia.

The arrival of more premium DS models will be complemented by introduction of separate showroom space for the DS range at Citroen dealerships, which will also adopt the brand’s subtly revised corporate identity.

Citroen importer Ateco Automotive expects to sell 1620 of the French vehicles this year (a modest increase over last year’s 1603 despite a 6.9 per cent decline so far this year), but the company expects the line-up revisions and addition of new models will push that figure up more than 50 per cent to about 2500 units next year. Having said that, only a year ago Ateco predicted 3000 Citroen sales this year.

One-third of the projected volume increase is to be driven by the C4 – although the projections do not take into account predicted sales of the two new DS models and the C4 Aircross.

 center imageFrom top: Citroen C4, C4 Picasso, C5 sedan, Berlingo

Ateco said the strong Australian dollar has helped the company achieve increased value and the reduced cost of entry to most Citroen models in this round of revisions, but also credits Citroen’s Paris head office for its strong support in enabling it to make the Australian line-up changes.

Ateco will consolidate the C3 hatch into a single Seduction specification, including the standard fitment of the model’s unique Zenith panoramic windscreen and Bluetooth connectivity, both of which were previously only available on the top-spec Exclusive variant.

The 1.4-litre petrol engine of the outgoing $19,990 base model will be dropped, leaving the automatic-only 88kW 1.6-litre petrol as the range-opener at $23,990 and the 82kW 1.6-litre diesel manual priced at $24,990.

Consequently, the entry price for the C3 will become $1000 higher than that of the larger C4, a risky proposition given the price-sensitive nature of the light-car segment and the fact that the C3 already bats in the same slightly pricey ballpark as the classy Volkswagen Polo.

But Ateco has enough confidence in the move to predict a doubling of C3 sales to 300 units in 2012, believing the single specification represents the most popular customer choice and offers good value for money.

Ateco public relations manager Edward Rowe said the highly-specified C3 will pander to the trend of buyers seeking a small city runabout that does not require them to sacrifice luxury, and the importer would rather sell fewer cars at a profit than offer a wider range of cars that may increase volume but at the expense of added operational complexity and cost to the bottom line.

While the C3’s posher Mini-rivaling DS3 sibling will get standard Bluetooth connectivity, the big news is a $6000 price cut, meaning the entry-level model gets slashed from $32,990 to $26,990 and the flagship DSport variant plunges from $35,990 to $29,990 – a move Ateco expects will lift sales from around 220 this year to 325 next year.

The base DStyle variant drops the 88kW petrol engine in favour of a 70kW unit, but the blunted performance is partly compensated by the replacement of the outgoing four-speed automatic transmission with a six-speed robotised manual EGS unit.

Customers with a need for versatility will benefit from a $2000 price decrease on the seven-seat C4 Picasso, down to $35,990, but sales are still expected to drop from about 280 units this year to 220 next year.

The Picasso received a $6000 price drop in August last year and now the MY2012 Picasso gains an extra 20kW (up to 120kW) from its revised Euro 5-compliant diesel engine, updated front-end styling including a new grille, bumper and LED daytime-running lights.

Citroen’s entrant to the mid-size category, the previously expensive C5 sedan and wagon range, will be facelifted and priced from $35,990, a huge $11,000 drop that enables it to undercut its mechanically similar Peugeot 508 sibling by $1000 and properly compete with classy Euro competition including Ford’s Mondeo and the Volkswagen Passat.

The price cut is partially achieved by adding new entry-level Attraction and mid-spec Seduction trim levels – nomenclature that mirrors the new C4 – plus a sedan-only 115kW 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine with six-speed automatic transmission.

The wagon retains its all-diesel four- and six-cylinder engine mix and in new Attraction trim is priced from $39,990 – down $10,000.

The biggest like-for-like price drops are on flagship Exclusive variants, which all get five-figure decreases, the largest being a staggering $14,000 discount on a 3.0-litre V6 HDi wagon.

Ateco believes C5 sales will increase by 42 per cent to 425 units next year, maintaining its role as Citroen’s second-best seller.

The Berlingo van also drops in price, the petrol-powered short body now opening $3000 cheaper at $19,990, with the long-body diesel dropping $3500 to $22,990. Top-spec L2 models gain a standard cargo mat and Bluetooth connectivity.

Sales of the small van are expected to remain around 240 units next year, down 30 per cent on 2010’s result of 343 sales.

More details of the revised Citroen range will be revealed as the cars arrive in Australia.

MY12 Citroen rangepricing (before on-road costs):
C3
Seduction 1.6 petrol (a)$23,990 (new)
Seduction 1.6 e-HDi $24,990 (new)
DS3
DStyle (a)$26,990 (-$6000)
DSport$29,990 (-$6000)
C4
Attraction 1.6 petrol(a) $22,990 (new)
Seduction 1.6 petrol$22,990 (new)
Seduction 1.6 petrol (a)$24,990 (new)
Seduction 1.6 HDi$26,990 (new)
Seduction 1.6 e-HDi (a) $27,990 (new)
Exclusive 1.6 turbopetrol (a)$31,990 (new)
Exclusive 1.6 HDi$31,990 (new)
Exclusive 1.6 e-HDi (a)$32,990 (new)
C4Picasso
2.0 HDi (a) $37,990 (-$2000)
C5Sedan
Attraction 1.6 petrol (a)$35,990 (new)
Seduction 1.6 petrol (a)$39,490 (new)
Exclusive 1.6 petrol (a)$44,990 (new)
Attraction 2.0 HDi (a)$37,990 (new)
Seduction 2.0 HDi (a)$41,490 (new)
Exclusive 2.0 HDi (a) $46,990 (-$11,000)
Exclusive 3.0 V6 HDi (a)$56,990 (-$13,000)
C5 Wagon
Attraction 2.0 HDi (a)$39,990 (new)
Seduction 2.0 HDi (a)$43,490 (new)
Exclusive 2.0 HDi (a)$48,990 (-$12,000)
Exclusive 30. V6 HDi (a)$58,990 (-$14,000)
Berlingo
Shortbody 1.6 petrol (m)$19,990 (-$3000)
Longbody 1.6 diesel (m)$22,990 (-$3500)

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