BRUCE GAIN

Citroen keeps faith in family vans

The Citroen C4 Picasso, shown, is Europe's No. 2 compact minivan after the VW Touran.
Bruce Gain is an Automotive News Europe correspondent in France.
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Family vans will continue to play a part in Citroen's lineup despite a shift in demand to SUV/crossovers, CEO Linda Jackson said.

Citroen models will offer more of a family van feeling and less of an SUV experience than the new 3008 and 5008 from sister brand Peugeot, she said.

"The minivan segment is declining slightly in Europe, to the benefit of SUVs," Jackson said. "But minivans will still play a very important part in our model range."

Jackson noted how the C4 Picasso compact minivan "is the reference in its segment."

Citroen's SUV/crossovers, such as its upcoming Aircross, will offer a family van-like experience associated with the brand's focus on comfort and connectivity, she said.

"As we introduce new SUVs, we will try to build-in the Citroen quality of modularity and comfort," Jackson said. "We won’t forget that or customers we have look for modularity in the car. This will be very important for us in the future."

Jackson would not comment on whether the next C4 Picasso's styling will be more crossover-like. The C3 Picasso, which is expected to debut in Geneva next month, is getting more of a crossover, sources have said. Other automakers, such as Renault Opel, are giving their minivans crossover styling without an aggressive SUV appearance.

VW leads

Top-selling compact minivans in Europe in 2016 with % change

1. Volkswagen Touran 110,626 +50%

2. Citroen C4 Picasso/Grand C4 Picasso 106,203 -5%

3. BMW 2 series Active/Gran Tourer 102,109 +19%

4. Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max 81,800 -4%

5. Renault Scenic/Grand Scenic 79,211 -27%

Source: JATO

You can reach Bruce Gain at bgain@crain.com.

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