Friday 9 December 2016

Citroen's new team plots brand revival

MARTIN BRENNAN

Published 03/04/2011 | 05:00

CITROEN has assembled a fresh management team under a new managing director who plans to build up its market share with tempting offers.

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Citroen Motors Ireland -- with help from Citroen's UK operation -- has been restructuring to re-energise the brand. Last week, the new managing director, Frederic Soulier, gave a 'rallying the troops' speech as he looked to the future by reminding dealers and fleet managers that Citroen is a brand with a strong future.

He listed ongoing achievements worldwide -- 1.4 million cars sold last year, making it the sixth-biggest seller in Europe with a 6.6 per cent market share. Sales are also expanding rapidly in China and Latin America.

Here, the new company has been staffed up and Paul Hunt has taken over as marketing manager. Soulier has a two-pronged strategy to grow market share from 1.8 per cent to 5 per cent within five years.

"Good products and a quality service for our customers. We now have a very strong line-up of cars and we are training sales staff to give a top showroom service," he says.

He is pinning his recovery hopes on pricing and quality. Citroen's trend-setting designs and fabled diesel engines -- which are used by other manufacturers, including BMW -- are his other big assets.

The product line-up is impressive. The C4 is now on sale, starting with a new offering of a 1.6-litre 95bhp petrol engine in VTR trim at €18,990.

A model powered by a 1.6-litre HDi 110bhp diesel with six-speed manual transmission in Band A (€104 annual road tax) is on offer for just €1,000 extra. There is also an entry-level 1.6-litre version with 90bhp output and a five-speed manual transmission.

The C5 model has been updated and prices start at €25,390 for the 1.6-litre 110bhp VTR version. There is also an E-HDi model, with second-generation stop-start, ultra-low emissions and high fuel economy. The Airdream version with EGS automatic transmission is €28,990.

The C5, which was voted Continental Irish Car of the Year, gets a new fresh look, with LED lights and improved engines in both saloon and tourer options.

The stylish DS3 and DS4 models are attracting new interest for their striking looks and a newcomer, the DS3 Racing -- which has just been launched for special-order delivery after June -- will sell at €29,990.

This high performer will set boy-racers' hearts thumping with a true hot-hatch performance from the 1.6-litre petrol engine, which has a 207 bhp output and 275 Nm of torque on tap at 2245 rpm.

It comes with 18-inch alloy wheels and a 0-100 km/h sprint in just 6.5 seconds.

There is also a battery-powered car on offer. The C-Zero is a full electric car based on the Mitsubishi iMIEV and will be on a lease offer to firms for €500 a month. Orders are now being taken.

Also in the Citroen line-up is the baby C1, built alongside the Toyota Aygo and the supermini C3, which comes with cruise control and speed limiter. The Picasso line in the C3 and C4 are strong contenders in the MPV stakes.

Sunday Independent Supplement

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