PARIS – Automobiles Citroen plans to introduce a new sub-brand at the Paris auto show Sept. 30 based on its 2007 concept C-Cactus hybrid.
Peugeot Citroen’s top designer Jean-Pierre Ploue tells Autocar magazine the new brand will be defined not by price, “but by simplicity and ingenuity of design,” primarily to attract what he calls the “iPod generation.”
The emphasis on design is a change. The C-Cactus was stripped down to a minimum of parts. The idea was to test whether consumers would like a hybrid that cost less than its competition because it was a simpler car.
Evidently, Citroen sees the success of the C-Cactus more on the design side, rather than what content car buyers could do without in a stripped-down hybrid.
Citroen is seeing success with its already-established DS premium sub-brand, which is made up of elegant versions of its base C3, C4 and C5 family-oriented compact cars.
DS3 output will go to three shifts in September. The next to arrive, the DS5, will go into production in both China and France in the next two years.
Picasso is another Citroen sub-brand for its family of people-movers, the C3, C4 and Xsara Picasso.
With the DS3, Citroen created an opening in its lineup likely to be filled by the car that will launch the latest hybrid sub-brand at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris.
The word “simpler” at Citroen recalls the Citroen 2CV, which was the basis of the auto maker’s post World War II success. Ploue tells the magazine the 2CV was an inspiration “not for the appearance of the car but for its innovative spirit.”
Citroen has evoked the memory several times: with the folding canvas roof of the last-generation C3 Pluriel, C-Cactus fixed windows and Citroen Revolte concept at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show.
Ploue in his interview declines to reveal the name of the new family of cars until the Paris show. But the CV line, as in CV3, CV4, CV5, would be a possibility.
“This brand will cause a lot of shock and surprise at Paris, I promise you,” he says. “It’s a real departure for us – a break from tradition.”