It’s Linda Jackson again, CEO of Citroën. More half-baked ideas.
In March we learned from Jackson that Citroëns are to be sold on style not price. Today’s news is that while planning to cut Citroën’s model ranges down to seven most important body-styles by 2020, one of them will be inspired by the Mehari, a less than practical 2CV variant with plastic cladding. Why? To make Citroën “fun”, says Jackson. So now we can add this to “style” as the main attractions of Citroën .
According to Jackson the idea is to have seven basic profiles, which she calls “silhouettes” from which variants will be spun. Does this mean that the cars will have the same outline but differ superficially depending on how much of a mismatch there is between the body openings and the graphics? Back to the “fun” part. Aren’t Citroën’s already supposed to be funky and light-hearted? If the current crop of cars are not fun enough one can only wonder what level of fun they need to get to so as to satisfy Jackson. Why aren’t Citroëns fun enough as they are? Will fun be a shared characteristic or something for only certain of the range? So many questions.
I’d say that adding fun to the cars is not done by having a Mehari-throwback but by making sure the controls are nice to use and the handling something most grown adults could enjoy if they wanted to. Throw in in a few more powerful engines and competent styling and there you go. Note that Ford has managed to make Foci and Fiestas fun without one single plastic-panelled variant.
Sometimes countries go off the rails because of pure bad luck. The wrong people sweep to power entirely legally and democratically and just can’t do the job. Citroën, with the cost cutter Tavares and style/fun Jackson seem to be people with the wrong ideas at the wrong time. Nothing they are saying is inspiring confidence.
I may be too literal. Perhaps Jackson’s idea is that if one of the seven silhouettes has a Mehari-type derivative then that might be a kind of halo car, radiating fun in the showroom. Is that what she meant?
While Peugeot seems to be doing alright, to judge from the sales figures, and Citroën might be selling cars right now, I don’t see the current products or the suggested future products having enough of an ID to secure them in another round of bad market conditions (around 2020, I expect) I am not asking for anything as idealistic as unusual suspension, merely that Citroën make some believable efforts to distinguish their products from everyone else offering a more-or-less-alright car for a more-or-less-acceptable amount of money.