Citroen 'to go radical' on family hatch

* C4 Cactus shows future direction * Conventional Golf rival 'not needed' * Approach 'would be global'...

Citroen 'to go radical' on family hatch

Citroen is likely to focus on a more radical approach to family hatchbacks, led by the new Citroen C4 Cactus, instead of replacing the current C4 with another conventional Focus and Golf rival, according to the company's boss.

The Cactus concept is designed to show how Citroen plans to develop its 'C Line' of vehicles – in effect anything that doesn't wear a DS badge. Model cycles mean that while it will be called C4 Cactus, it will be sold alongside the existing C4 for at least four years. 

However, Citroen managing director Frederic Banzet told What Car? that the firm is keen to get out of the conventional family hatchback market and offer something different, allowing it to focus on perceived value instead of getting involved in a price-cutting war with rivals from Korea (and eventually, China).

When asked if Citroen would have to build another regular C4 to replace the current car, Banzet said, 'No, I don't think so. We have to try to keep attracting conquest sales and that means not focusing on the average car like Megane, Focus or Astra. Or even the Koreans [Hyundai and Kia], who are being more aggressive in pricing.

Nor can we be in the low-cost game. What would happen in the longer term is that the C4 Cactus and the C4 would become one car.'

Citroen is hoping that its design-led C Line range of vehicles – which will be launched by the C4 Cactus next year – will prove a similar sales hit to the DS model line-up. DS models have now sold more than 350,000 editions worldwide, but their price margins mean that the cars are generally more profitable than the firm's regular vehicles.

Banzet also confirmed that while the C4 Cactus has been designed for Europe, it could be sold outside of the region. 'Originally the idea was just for this area,' he said, 'but it could be that it is sold beyond Europe, yes. We'd need to check what customers want and perhaps make some adjustments for their tastes, but the ethos behind the new C Line is a global one.'