FRANKFURT – Citroen will begin production of a large crossover/SUV in China between the end of next year and early 2015. The model, derived from the Wild Rubis concept that debuted in April at the Shanghai auto show, will be sold in China and surrounding Asian countries, but is not planned for Europe, Citroen CEO Frederic Banzet said.
Citroen to build large SUV only for Asia
Model based on Wild Rubis concept will enter production in about 18 months
"The production model will be less radical than the Wild Rubis concept. For example, it will not sit on 21-inches wheels," Banzet said in an interview Wednesday.
At 4700mm long, 1950mm wide and 1590mm tall, the Wild Rubis is similar in size to the Volkswagen Touareg. In Europe, Citroen sells the C4 Aircross compact SUV, which is based on the Mitsubishi ASX, and the C-Crosser, which is based on the Mitsubishi Outlander.
Banzet declined to discuss pricing and volume for the large SUV, which will be sold as part of Citroen's upscale DS line.
The still-unnamed model, which media reports say could be called the DS7 or DSX7, will be built in Shenzhen in a new plant that is part of the joint venture between Citroen parent PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Changan Automobile Group.
"We are about to begin production of the DS5 in Shenzhen, followed next year by a compact sedan and by the large crossover," Banzet said.
Boosting sales in China is crucial to Citroen's goal of selling half of all its vehicles outside Europe by 2015.
"In the first half, our sales outside Europe were 40 percent of the total, compared with just 20 percent five years ago," Banzet said.