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Citroen C4 Picasso and DS Rubis a chance

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    Included in the Picasso update are a 'loft-style' cabin with added space.

The Citroen C4 Picasso and DS Rubis are being scoped for Australia.

The two great looking new Citroens are under consideration as the French brand looks to win converts down under.

The five-seater C4 Picasso has re-emerged as a likely starter for families while the DS Wild Rubis concept tops the wish list after its unveiling for the Shanghai motor show.

The compact Picasso was originally dismissed in favour of the seven-seater Grand Picasso people mover that's already a long-term member of the Citroen family here, but has re-emerged as contender following a body update.

The Wild Rubis is only a long shot because its development is focused on China, but Australia's plan for a DS-driven sales push means it would be a natural if it is available. "We want to build the brand and that means we're looking at everything," the head of Citroen Australia, John Startari, tells Carsguide.

Citroen has just re-launched under a new distributor and plans to grow its sales by 35 per cent in the short term, with double-digit improvements over coming years, based on the strengths of the French cars. Startari says he was very impressed when he saw the C4 Picasso in Paris and has launched an investigation on its suitability for Australia. "It's not something we should discard, because there are significant changes.

"I saw it in France last week and it's on-brand," he says. "We don't have pricing yet, and that makes it harder, but it was a definite no and now it's a possible.

"We still haven't made a final decision, but I guess it's the inclusion of a lot of technology and the styling of the car that merits investigation.

"The Grand Picassos has already had an update with styling along similar lines."

Included in the Picasso update are a 'loft-style' cabin with added space, twin touch-screen displays, park assist, active seat belts and even ultrasonic blind spot monitoring. Startari believes the Wild Rubis would have a surefire hit in Australia but is not confident it will be built with right-hand drive.

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"I think it's a very exciting prospect. Coming out of China would mean that it's left-hand drive, so we'd need a business case for right-hand drive. And the largest right-hand drive market is the UK."

The stylish SUV is clearly intended for DS production, although its 21-inch alloys and plug-in hybrid driveline might struggle for showroom approval. Citroen says it "points to a future DS SUV" and it's likely the concept will be transferred to the road within two years, with its basic 4.7-metre bodywork unchanged.

Still, Startari is not getting over-excited. "We really have no information yet on the Wild Rubis. I cannot speculate because nothing has come through officially," he says.

But he is looking forward to delivering an expanded Citroen range to Australian buyers. "It's great to be part of something that has this ability to do things differently. Cars are being traded as commodities now, regardless of the brand, and people are looking for something different.

"There is a relevant, visible point of difference at Citroen. And that's refreshing, as well as giving us the opportunity to do something different."

This reporter is on Twitter @paulwardgover

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