The Citroen C3 Picasso is currently involved in a safety recall fiasco in the UK.
The compact French people mover has a unique feature that means the vehicle’s brakes can be applied by the front-seat passenger. Don’t expect to find that in any of the product brochures.
The C3 Picasso is built as a left-hand drive vehicle and then converted to right-hand drive for the UK. During the process, the braking mechanism and cables are not removed from the left-side footwell, creating an internal wiring setup as chaotic and disorderly as one of Pablo Picasso's own masterpieces.
As a result, they are only covered by a thin piece of carpet and the brakes can easily be engaged when the passenger pushes down with their feet.
Citroen UK has admitted to the botched piece of manufacturing only after a driver and passenger unexpectedly came screeching to a halt from 110km/h on a motorway and the BBC ran an investigation into it.
The defect went unnoticed by Citroen despite significant engineering work before the vehicle’s UK introduction. It remained undetected after around two years on sale and more than 22,000 deliveries.
Peugeot sells a vehicle that shares many of the same components and is also converted from left- to right-hand drive, however Peugeot accounted for the issue before selling the vehicle to the public by placing a protective plate over the brake mechanism.
Citroen UK now plans to do the same thing during the recall procedure, which is set to take approximately one hour and will be completed free of charge.
The Citroen C3 Picasso is not sold in Australia. The larger Grand C4 Picasso is a completely different vehicle, and is not affected by the recall.
Check out this video demonstration by the BBC to see the defect in action.