Well What Do I know?

The French like Citroen above all other French brands, reports the Posternak-Ifop brand image survey. Appropriately, only Michelin scored equally well.

2000 Citroen Xsara
How Citroen style this result so as to mean they are first among equals was not made clear in their report. Add to this the fact that the Citroen Cactus is so popular that production is being increased then to some extent I have to eat a small amount of humble pie.

“Citroen initially aimed for annual sales of 70,000 but has sold 74,000 since the car’s staggered launch in Europe starting in France last June,” says Automotive News. I still think their cars are not what they should be and I wish they were more interesting and advanced. Citroen is in a position to build on this popularity by using some of this to lead their customers rather than merely giving them what they want.

All that said, the result is that French consumers like the brand and consumers generally are taking to one of the most Citroen-y of Citroen’s current cars. It’s not the C5, alas, which is the most Citroen-y of their cars though some of that must be down to the fact it’s in a declining sector and has been on sale for quite a long time.

Imagine if they didn’t scrap the HP suspension and instead made the next C5 with bolder engineering, just a shade bolder, as an antidote the rather homogenous competence on offer elsewhere in the C-D class.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

7 thoughts on “Well What Do I know?”

  1. I find it hard to believe that Citroen’s rosy image with the French public is due in any way to PSA’s careful nurturing. It’s more that they have always been the quintessential French car manufacturer. So, if you ask a French Hyundai (or even Renault) buyer who is the top French manufacturer, their kneejerk reply might well be ‘Citroen’

    A bit like me and football. I know nothing about it, but were you to ask me to name a quintessential football club I’d say “Manchester United”, though for all I know they now live at the bottom of League Division 5.

    Which reminds me that my subscription to the Citroen Car Club is due for renewal. Bearing in mind the scorn I’ve poured on the brand over the past few months, can I renew with a clear conscience?

  2. I’m really astonished to hear this survey result. I can only interpret this as a nostalgic statement without impact on their buying decisions. It seems that, not unlike me, they love Citroën for what it has been and should be, but will most probably not become again.

    With my French colleagues I see nothing but contempt for their country’s politics and economy and also for its industry’s products. To be considered young, urban and successful, a German car seems to be de rigueur. But maybe this is an emigrant view that is not shared with the ones who have stayed.

  3. I agree it probably has no reflection on their purchases. It would be interesting to see the phrasing of the survey.

    “Which is the top French car brand?” is not the same as “Which French car brand do you admire?” or “Which French car brand would you purchase?” or even “Which French car manufacturer has the least bad image?”.

  4. Given all the 60 years of the DS publicity, and the sense that it is Citroen’s classics that have been consistently used by Hollywood/ US media to adorn any scene set in France, is it any surprise that the French themselves most readily recognise Citroen as a French car brand? Peugeot and Renault are nothing like as iconic and recognisable design-wise.

  5. I went and looked at the orginal research. The question (as described on the ad agency’s English webpages) “I am going to give you the name of some french large companies. Depending on what you heard lately telle me if you have of them a very good, rather good, rather poor or very poor opinion”
    Poll 21 and 22 May, 2015 on a nationally representative sample of the French population, consisting of 1013 persons aged 18 and over.

    Fair enough. perhaps Sebastien Loeb had just won the TV reality contest that’s sweeping the airwaves of French TV, “Celebrity Ballroom Dancing Apprentice Chef Makeover Property Renovation Bachelor Big Brother Police Car Chase” and did the whole thing in his Citroen racing apparel. Perhaps one of the trashy hedonist youths on Cote d’Azure Shore just bought a DS3 and although everyone laughed they couldn’t look away.

    Also, on the same company website – they’re responsible for the Creative Technologie campaign, so there’s no vested interest in getting a top result there. http://www.lamatrice.com/EN/pm_agence_3.html

    So don’t be too hard on yourself, jaded Citroenistes, I’d say most of your arguments still stand, even if this survey wasn’t tainted by being conducted by the agency that works for the winning brand.

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