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Citroën forced to transform into a low-cost brand

by drbyos

Where is Citroën going? The recurring question has become pressing. The manufacturer’s sales, in constant erosion, plunged in 2022, with a fall of 16% in Europe and 19% in France, where its market share (30% in the mid-1960s) fell below 10%. The Stellantis group has undertaken to reposition the brand, led since February by a new general manager, Thierry Koskas, who combines this function with that of the group’s world sales manager.

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To get out of its image as a generalist manufacturer with no rough edges, Citroën wants to position itself as “a popular brand capable of making electric mobility accessible”strikes his new boss, who intends to favor “simplicity and durability” of its vehicles, while involving “comfort and audacity”. This orientation, he says, is expressed through the ë-C3, an electric car expected in early 2024 and whose price will be “less than 25,000 euros”ecological bonus (5,000 euros in 2023) not deducted.

It should look like a small SUV and will be produced in Trnava, Slovakia, after it was considered to import it from India, where it is also manufactured on a more basic technical basis. No need to be a great cleric to note that the ë-C3 is positioned as a rival of the Dacia Spring, one of the cheapest electric models on the market (just under 21,000 euros excluding bonus). More modern, it also has a greater autonomy (more than 300 kilometers announced against around 230 for the Dacia).

Sans sophistication excessive

The new managing director of Citroën promises “other models, small, medium and large, which will be totally in line with the ë-C3”. However, there is no question of suggesting that Citroën is positioning itself in the same niche as the Romanian brand, well known to Thierry Koskas, who spent twenty-two years at Renault. “We are not a low cost brand”he defends himself with energy, not without admitting that certain models, including the ë-C3, “will be competitive with Dacia”.

However, the points of convergence between the new positioning of the chevron brand and the methods that have made the success of the Romanian manufacturer are disturbing. Citroën promises equipment “at the right level”that is to say without excessive sophistication (no multiple screens, for example), a range that is both tight and ultra-simplified as well as a ” net price “, in other words a competitive price but hardly opening room for negotiation. Citroën makes Dacia as Mr. Jourdain made prose.

You have 27.5% .. “”.

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