2005 Geneva Motor Show, Part V

March 1, 2005

2005 Geneva Motor Show Index by TCC Team (2/28/2005)


Citroën C1 and C6

Citroën's PR people were proudly informing the press that they were offering something that few manufacturers, and possibly none, had done before — that is to introduce brand new cars at the top and the bottom of its range at the same motor show. The two were the C1, the Citroën version of the small citycar that is the long-awaited fruit of the joint venture between PSA Peugeot/Citroën and Toyota in the Czech Republic, and the equally long-awaited range-topper that takes the French firm back into the luxury segment, the C6.

While Toyota launched its version of the C1, the Aygo, with blasting sounds from an on-stand DJ and a posse of dancers that underlined the marketing message that this is a car for hip (hop) urban youth, Citroën was more restrained, leaving each car to make its own impact on the floor of the stand among the rest of what is now a wide range of cars covering a number of target markets.

The C1 is seen by Citroën as complementary to its C2, C3, and C3 Pluriel models, offering complete coverage of the supermini market that accounts 30 percent of European sales. By concentrating on the segment, the French company has reached a point where it has over nine percent of sales in the sector, a useful increase over the 4.1 percent it had in 2001. Worldwide, the company sold over 518,000 superminis in 2004.

The C1 should help to boost that figure further, by appealing to buyers — mostly young — who are looking for their first new car. It will be available in three and five-door versions, with a choice of gasoline or diesel engines. The gasoline unit is a 68 hp 1.0-liter four supplied by Toyota, while the diesel is a PSA Peugeot/Citroën product producing 54 hp from a 1.4-liter engine that, because of its diesel torque, Citroën is citing as an ideal engine for city use. Be that as it may, the main selling feature of the diesel will still probably be its low fuel consumption.

Styling of the car is recognizably Citroënesque , and only the really switched on will know that it comes from the same factory as the Aygo. The designers have given it a look that is all its own, and it is likely to fulfill its aim of appealing to young urban types. The dash is particularly cool — a word that has just recently entered the French language — with a large circular speedo that's easily visible through the steering-wheel and a rev counter mounted in a pod atop the dash. Think Mini/Smart influences and you'll get the picture.

External syle is curvy and cute — a big selling-point with the ever-increasing number of young female buyers in Europe — and the rounded contours of the front end are said to have been shaped with pedestrian safety in mind on the exterior and ease of repair and consequent low insurance rates on the inside. The car goes on sale later this year at a price that should appeal to its target market.


2005 Citroen C6

2005 Citroen C6

Enlarge Photo
Look at the C6 luxury sedan and you will get the impression that the target market is presidents — and not just of Fance's top corporations. President Charles De Gaulle always looked at home in his Citroën, and one can imagine Jacques Chirac waving gracefully from the rear of this new luxury limousine. Long and low, the C6 has been designed to evoke links with the big Citroens of the past, and the stylists have done their job well. The overall shape of the car has elements — like the long front and short rear overhangs — that bring to mind the classic DS shape, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year, and there are also hints of the more recent CX. The lasting impression is that this is not a car that is memorable in itself, but it certainly is a Citroën — and that's not a failing in the luxury market.
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