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World's first dent-free car, the Citroen Cactus hits Australian roads

It can take a hit from a runaway shopping trolley travelling at 40km/h. Meet the car that can’t be dented.

The car that can’t be dented by shopping trolleys goes on sale in Australia today.

In a world first, the French-made Citroen Cactus has large rubber panels on the doors, with air bubbles that can absorb the impact of a runaway shopping trolley travelling at 40km/h -- with 40kg of groceries on board.

Shopping trolley dents and other dings cost car owners and the insurance industry millions of dollars in minor repairs each year.

But dent removal experts say they don’t believe the Citroen Cactus will damage their business, because the car is sold in relatively small numbers -- and the full size protection strips with built-in air bubbles are unlikely to be fitted to other models.

There is just one catch with the dent-free car.

You need to be able to drive a “stick shift” manual transmission to buy the cheapest version of the Citroen Cactus.

Citroen execs were not aware the word ‘Cactus’ in Australia can also mean something doesn’t work anymore.

The $26,990 petrol model is available with manual transmission only.

An automatic is available for $29,990, but it has a diesel engine.

The Cactus is part of the growing trend towards SUVs that are more like high-riding hatchbacks than genuine bush bashers.

Executives from the French car maker admitted when they came up with the name ‘Cactus’ it was meant to inspire images of a great weekend escape.

They were not aware the word ‘Cactus’ in Australia can also mean something doesn’t work anymore or has conked out, as in “she’s cactus”.

“The naming was a prickly issue and a thorn in the side of our marketing team, but it’s fundamental to the design philosophy of the vehicle,” said Citroen Australia spokesman Tyson Bowen. “It’s a fun name for a fun car.”

Buyers clearly don’t mind being seen in the oddly-designed Cactus.

One in three Citroen Cactus SUVs ordered in Australia so far are bright yellow -- even though there are 23,184 configurations from which to choose once you take into account all colour and trim combinations.

Do you find the trolley-proof Cactus appealing? Tell us what you think in the comments below.