Citroen will increase annual production of the C4 Cactus and expand sales outside Europe after the unconventionally designed compact model proved more popular than planned.
Citroen will sell the C4 Cactus in Australia, South Africa and potentially southeast Asia, Citroen CEO Linda Jackson said.
The C4 Cactus’s unusual design with so-called “Airbumps” on the sides and bumpers to protect the bodywork from minor collisions raised doubts among industry watchers that the car would appeal to mainstream buyers.
But Jackson said the car’s success has prompted the brand to offer the car, which was originally intended just for Europe, in other markets.
Citroen initially aimed for annual sales of 70,000 but has sold 74,000 since the car’s staggered launch in Europe starting in France last June.
“We are ahead of where we thought we would be and we are increasing production,” Jackson told Automotive News Europe in an interview.
The brand will add to 10,000 units a year of production at the factory at Villaverde factory near Madrid that builds the car, Jackson said.
Industry analysts forecast annual sales of between 50,000 and 100,000 for the C4 Cactus. Through April Citroen sold 28,336 units of the car, according to market researcher JATO Dynamics, making it the brand’s No. 3 seller after the C3 subcompact hatchback and C4 Picasso minivan.
Jackson said the car’s popularity showed that Citroen’s plan to offer a car different from those of mainstream rivals was correct. “When people first see it they like or don’t like it. I would rather we had that reaction instead of always being No. 4 on people’s shopping lists.”
The Cactus will inspire future models, Jackson said, starting with future compact SUV based on the Aircross concept shown at the Shanghai auto show earlier this year. Jackson would not comment on the release date for the new model. “I think in the near future is the best we can say,” she said.