Talking to CarAdvice at the Frankfurt motor show yesterday, Xavier Peugeot – Citroen’s head of product and a member of the Peugeot family and the son of Pierre Peugeot (the man largely credited with the formation of the Peugeot Citroen group), confirmed that Citroen now needs to differentiate itself by bringing a range of new and unique products to market.
“We need to think about bringing this freshness and difference, whatever the type of product. What is for sure is that we don’t want to have classical cars anymore.” Peugeot told CarAdvice.
Peugeot said that Citroen will address is traditional Euro-centric design and products by producing truly international models going forward, with a big focus on SUVs.
“We are trying to develop international products. When you develop an international range of products you have to be careful, because if you want to do the car for everybody you can build a car for nobody. But lets be clear, there is for the time being a growing segment everywhere in the world which is made of SUV crossover cars.”
Peugeot pointed to the Citroen Aircross concept as a clue of what the brand has in mind for the future while traditional models such as the Citroen C5 will likely not see a replacement in the near future.
Citroen plans to have seven solid products in the near future with each meeting the demands of two international regions at the very least.
“We will make sure that our seven products can meet customer expectations for at least two regions, and there are lots of possibilities to organise our product offer.”
Peugeot admitted that Citroen has to work on its technology, such as providing modern automatic gearboxes that have traditionally held the French brand back from markets such as Australia.
“You’re right to insist on the need for a technological answer.” Peugeot said when asked by CarAdvice if Citroen would address its current crop of ageing automatic transmissions.
“We want our product to be different when compared to the competition and we want also for them to bring comfort, but comfort in a modern way to bring well being and if you want to have well being you have to have technologies to demonstrate it, to prove it. Enough power with your engines, modern gearboxes, hybrid electric technologies.”
Citroen will use two distinct platforms going forward, one that will underpin its small cars and another for the larger cars.
“Citroen will not become a car manufacturer developing small cars only. We have the ambition to offer also to our customers, bigger products.”
Citroen Australia has sold 830 vehicles from January to August this year, just five more than the same period last year. Its best model remains the Citroen Berlingo van, followed by the C4 Grand Picasso.