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Citroen’s new-model splurge continues

C this: Citroen’s global marketing chief Arnaud Belloni has revealed that we will “recognise the DNA” shared between the 2016 Cxperience concept and the still-secret new-generation C5 mid-size sedan.

Returning, redesigned Citroen model lines will restore gaps in Australian range

16 Oct 2019

CITROEN’S fresh-metal spree will continue into 2020 and beyond, led by the long-overdue replacements for the C4 small hatch and C5 mid-size sedan set to be unveiled in the middle of next year, along with the French company’s first foray into electrification courtesy of the C5 Aircross plug-in hybrid.


Joining the recently released and critically important C3 Aircross and its larger C5 Aircross sibling, the new models will plug important gaps in Citroen’s global product portfolio and help the brand shift from an estimated 1.1 million sales this year to 1.5 million units annually by 2021.


This is according to Citroen’s senior vice-president of global marketing communications, Arnaud Belloni, who in an interview with GoAuto in Melbourne last weekend said the redesigned models would be anything but ordinary, yet still with mainstream appeal.


“The next-generation Citroens will be audacious but also sellable,” Mr Belloni revealed. “And you will see that very soon, by the next Paris motor show (in October 2020), when we see a hatchback and a bigger sedan.”


First cab off the rank for the company in the new decade will be the next C4 small hatchback, the third in a series that led to Citroen’s greatest-ever sales success in Australia during the mid-2000s when the brand’s total annual sales pushed up to 3000 units – a record mark that has never been repeated.


Slated to break cover next June, the new C4 will be based on a stretched version of the CMP platform that underpins the recently revealed Peugeot 208 II (rather than the dimensionally similar Peugeot 308 and its EMP2 hardware), but will still give Citroen a striking value alternative to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf.


“It will be as bold in its own way as the (1970) GS,” Mr Belloni said.


GoAuto understands that the new C4 will follow in the tracks of the Ford Focus Active and Subaru XV in having a slightly raised ride height for an urban crossover look, and will take over from the C4 Cactus in most markets. The Cactus was discontinued in Australia last year.


Surprisingly, given the global decline of medium and large sedans, Citroen is also having another tilt at the Volkswagen Passat set with the Mk3 C5 sedan.


If Mr Belloni is correct, the brand has an ace up its sleeve this time around, since the newcomer will have more than a little bit of the 2016 Cxperience concept car to help attract customers new and old.


“When you see the car you will recognise the (concept car) DNA, but it is not exactly that design,” he revealed.


“You will find something that is more (traditional) CX and even a bit of DS – though it is not the same because Citroen never designs the same car.


“It will be in the D-segment, but in the heart of the D-segment. It will not fight the luxury cars from BMW, Volvo or Mercedes-Benz. It will be a reinvention of the D-segment, respecting Citroen’s creativity, audacity and daring.”


Serving as a basis for the newcomer will be the recently released Peugeot 508; however, while both will share the advanced EMP2 platform, no body or interior panels are likely to be common, helping give the Citroen a different identity and character.


Disappointingly for some brand purists, the next C5 will most likely not adopt Citroen’s famous hydro-pneumatic suspension system, though Mr Belloni did say that it will offer a variation of the company’s new hydraulic bump-stop technology and seat-cushion construction methods as seen in some variations of the C5 Aircross, to help achieve a high level of comfort and refinement.


On the electrification front, a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid version of the C5 Aircross also debuts next year, while full-electric iterations of the aforementioned C4 hatch are expected to follow, utilising the e-CMP platform. It might be known as the e-C4.


Beyond that, from about 2023, the existing C3 supermini is scheduled to switch to the CMP architecture as it undergoes its fourth complete redesign, though a midlife refresh is expected to surface within the next 12 to 18 months.


Launched in late 2016, the current version has been a runaway success for the double-chevron brand, notching up over 700,000 sales since.


Whether Australia will also witness the anticipated return of a Citroen people-mover when it undergoes a generational change over the next couple of years is unknown.


However, Citroen’s range of light-commercial vehicles – led by the just-redesigned Berlingo – will not be imported in the foreseeable future, as importer Inchcape has decided that Peugeot will instead distribute its badge-engineered versions of these LCVs, owing to the lion brand’s broader dealer reach in this country.

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