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No go for Citroen retro, but Peugeot might

Peugeot revealed the electric e-Legend concept model at the Paris show.

Citroen has ruled out any chance of a retro revival of some its most iconic models, foregoing the path trodden by the likes of Mini and Volkswagen.

Company CEO, Linda Jackson, told Australian media at the 2018 Paris motor show that any chance of a new-generation 2CV with a high-tech electric drivetrain are non-existent. 

"I'm not very keen on going retro" she said. "I think we've got so much to do for the future, so many new things to launch, so many new models coming, that to spend time and money doing a 2CV - which I love, I think it's a great vehicle and it's iconic and we use it lots when talking about our history, and it was bold and comfortable - but to reinvent it again? I'm not convinced."

That sentiment was echoed within the walls of the Citroen stand mere hours later, when a similar line of questioning was put to Pierre Monferini, head of Citroen future product.

"We don't make some retro design, to be honest" Monferini said. "It's not our cup of tea."

That said, the brand has dabbled with retro models in recent times, with the introduction in limited numbers of the Citroen e-Mehari, a new-generation electric version that re-imagined the well-known Mehari model. 

Sister brand under the PSA umbrella, Peugeot, might be a little more open to the idea of a retro model plugging into its line-up, as it revealed the electric, autonomous and entirely make-believe  e-Legend concept model at the Paris show.

  • This hat-tip to the 504 Coupe was washed in glorious minimalism. This hat-tip to the 504 Coupe was washed in glorious minimalism.
  • The concept model has simple angular lines and a blue velvet interior. The concept model has simple angular lines and a blue velvet interior.
  • The steering wheel disappears into the full wide-screen dashboard. The steering wheel disappears into the full wide-screen dashboard.

This hat-tip to the 504 Coupe was washed in glorious minimalism, with simple, angular lines and a blue velvet interior, thanks very much. Just put to the side the fact the steering wheel disappears into the full wide-screen dashboard, and you could be convinced it's a retro rod.

The man who oversaw the e-Legend model, Peugeot head designer Gilles Vidal, said that e-Legend offers an optimistic take on future design while acknowledging the past.  

"Science-fiction shows us a scary future" he said. "There's no happy science fiction movie. I looked, there's no enthusiastic, happy sci-fi movie. They're all dark in some way or another, they're all scary. 

"The future, or futurism, is always a bit weird. But we said 'no', the future can be super enthusiastic, it can be emotional, it can be bright and interesting. Let's not see autonomous driving as a loss of something - it can be delightful in many ways.

"So we did a concept that pushes this logic, this philosophy, and by luck it's the 50th anniversary of the 504 Coupe. So we gave it the shape of a heritage car, but the form language is not retro in anyway, despite the silhouette and some graphic gimmicks on the car" said Vidal.

Citroen says it's not keen on a retro model, but recently introduced a re-imagined Mehari. Citroen says it's not keen on a retro model, but recently introduced a re-imagined Mehari.

Peugeot's CEO, Jean-Philippe Imparato, told assembled media that the desire to build on three pillars - serenity, pleasure and simplicity - can be seen in this concept, which, if it were to make production, wouldn't only be offered as an electric car, but with petrol and plug-in hybrid drivetrains.

"This is a realistic and desirable project, which isn't seven metres long, isn't like a train car and doesn't have rotating seats. I would dream of a car like that. It combines our history with elegance and high-end French craftsmanship.

"This underlines the way we are writing the future with pleasure. We don't want a car that is seven metres long. But anyway, we wanted to have pleasure - driving and designing this car, it's not a question of strategy" said Imperato.

"I'm proud of our history and I consider that we should bet on that to write the future. I don't want to be boring." 

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