Fans of the Citroen 2CV and DS rejoice, or commiserate – depending on where you stand – as the brand's design chief says the French car maker will not 'do' a new Fiat 500, Mini or Volkswagen Beetle and build a retro model based on a recognised classic.
Speaking to Australian media at a recent Paris-based Citroen C4 Cactus drive event, Citroen design director Alexandre Malval said while he and his design team may appreciate such retro models as the new Fiat 500, Mini or Volkswagen Beetle, “it wouldn’t make sense” or be technically viable for Citroen to follow suit.
“[Retro models are] not really our taste to be honest,” Malval said.
“We appreciate the Mini, the Fiat 500, but we can’t base the success of a company that has to be international on the one silhouette.
“We have this discussion quite often because, obviously, when you have in your heritage the 2CV or a DS, a lot of [people] are asking us, ‘When will you do the next 2CV?’. But if you think what makes the strength of the Citroen brand and what Andre Citroen tried to build, is always to get the most contemporary answer to all the questions you have at that time.
“The 2CV was a great modern car at that time but it wouldn’t make sense to make a new 2CV today. If you keep the spirit of Andre Citroen, the best would be, what is the next popular car, affordable, clever, smart? And for us, it’s called the C4 Cactus today.”
Debuting at the 1948 Paris motor show, the 7kW 2CV (or Deux Chevaux) is known for being one of the most utilitarian and minimalist products ever built. Originally created to help farmers transport eggs across ploughed fields, the 2CV featured a high ground clearance and extremely long-travel suspension.
Due to launch locally early next year, the C4 Cactus is a five-seat, five-door sub-compact SUV designed to be innovative and lightweight. Tipping the scales at between 1020kg and 1055kg, the Cactus – partially protected from minor knocks by Citroen’s own Air Bump creation – has pop-out rear windows, no ceiling-mounted grab handles and no steering wheel reach adjustment, all in an effort to save weight.
“And then there’s some technical aspect,” Malval said.
“If you tried to make a 2CV today, thanks to regulation, the car would be extremely heavy and you miss the point, you miss the flavour of the real 2CV.
“So the car either would be extremely big, like the new [Volkswagen] Beetle compared to the first one, and it will look heavy and then you will need big breaks, big engines and so on and so on. It’s just opposite to 2CV so we prefer to invent something new… rather than making a retro car.”