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Citroen C4 Cactus points to French brand's SUV future

The future of Citroen in Australia hinges on a single car, the C4 Cactus.

The French company's new Aircross concept points directly at its SUV future, but it's the Cactus which is claimed to reinvent Citroen with a modern twist, combining cutting-edge design with comfort and fresh technology. It's coming to Australia early next year, priced from about $25,000.

The arrival of the Cactus comes as the parent PSA Group is split and repurposed, with Citroen becoming an entry brand, Peugeot filling the mainstream, and DS becoming a new stand-alone premium contender.

The more products are outstanding, the more chance we have to be successful in Australia

"I think C4 Cactus can become a good answer to how you become relevant in a market that is so competitive like Australia. The more products are outstanding, the more chance we have to be successful in Australia," the director of marketing communication at Citroen, Julien Montarnal, told CarsGuide this week in Paris.

"With the C4 Cactus, the idea was to go back to the roots of Citroen and transpose it in the current world. It is a way to attract younger people, and people who are new to the brand.

"We are proposing cars that are different. The more your product is different, the more it is outstanding, the more they buy it for a reason."

Montarnal rejects any suggestion that Citroen prices will fall, or that there will be a wholesale overhaul of the product line-up, but says the Cactus and Aircross show the thinking in Paris on how the cars will be developed.

"Regarding our pricing strategy, splitting DS and Citroen does not have any impact on Citroen pricing.

"We are improving the value," Montarnal says. "The stronger our cars, and the stronger they are in design, then price is not a key issue. What we want is the promise of creativity and we want you to feel good in our cars.

"We want to be valued by the customers as a carmaker that is making cars that are both very good looking and make you feel good."

He refuses to go beyond the Cactus and Aircross but believes Citroen will become stronger over the next five years, with the three-model strategy changing the way PSA Group develops its future products.

"Splitting Citroen and DS is about making both brands stronger to allow them both to grow," he says.

"The whole purpose is to build three brands that are more differentiated. Citroen and DS have their own promise. It's a way for us to build stronger models and develop a much clearer message."

Paul Gover
Paul Gover is a former CarsGuide contributor. During decades of experience as a motoring journalist, he has acted as chief reporter of News Corp Australia. Paul is an all-round automotive expert and specialises in motorsport.
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