PARIS –Citroen Peugeot puts on a brave face at this year’s auto show here, despite its financial and overcapacity troubles.
The Peugeot brand introduces two new versions of its 208 hatchback: the hot GTi and upscale XY, both of which were concepts when the 208 was presented at Geneva in March.
The new models are part of Peugeot’s attempt to move upscale and garner higher prices at the dealership.
However, the big event on the Peugeot stand is the Onyx concept supercar. With a V-8 engine behind the front seats, it’s aimed at imagination, not production. But it gives Peugeot the opportunity to talk about the auto maker’s range of transportation, including the Onyx concept bike and scooter.
As with Peugeot, most of Citroen’s show presentations are meant to keep the industry chatter going. Frederic Banzet, general manager of the brand, presents the Citroen DS3 cabriolet with a folding fabric top that recalls the 2CV and more recently the C3 Pluriel. The500 cabriolet uses a similar soft top.
The DS3’s roof can be opened or closed while traveling up to 75 mph (120 km/h). However, the side arches remain in place and can’t be removed.
Banzet says the DS line of more upscale Citroens has sold more than 250,000 units so far, which is part of the auto maker’s strategy.
Citroen wants a more international presence. Banzet says one-third of current sales are outside Europe, with a goal of 50%. The C-Elysee is on the stand for press days but will be removed during the public days of the show. The car, to be made in Spain, is aimed at markets such as Russia and the Mediterranean basin.
Banzet says Citroen rally drivers will race again next year, despite the cutbacks at, thanks to a partnership with the government of Abu Dhabi. As the racers drive off the stage with their engines rumbling, he turns his attention to the silent Citroen C-Zero electric vehicle that recently toured the world.
Banzet also introduces the Number 9 hybrid concept car that debuted in April at the Beijing auto show. With its 1.6L gasoline engine of 225 hp and a 50-Kw (70-hp) electric motor, the car promises 39 g/km of carbon-dioxide emissions.
The Number 9 is the size of many premium sedans but shorter than the Citroen Metropolis concept car that preceded it. The market-ready size suggests that a real project could be behind the concept.
Both Citroen and Peugeot have cars on their stands painted in matte black, a trend in recent years at the Geneva show. The Peugeot RCZ R model and Citroen DS 5 both show the color can work, even in an over-lighted show setting.
There was no mention in presentations of PSA’s relationship with, but recently Guillaume Faury, PSA’s director of research and development, confirms the transatlantic partnership is the reason and PSA officially quit their hybrid-powertrain project.
“We will continue what we have already started separately,” he says.
is interested in PSA’s idea of using hybridization to give a car 4-wheel drive by putting an electric motor on the rear axle. The German auto maker has front-wheel drive on its Mini line and is developing its first FWD BMW model.