CEO Linda Jackson of Citroen laid out a road map for the reinvention of Citroen shortly after being named to her post in 2014. Four years later, the automaker's core model strategy is on track, with five new vehicles, including successful global launches of the C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross, Citroen's first true SUVs. Richard Meyer, as future product planning director, has been an integral part of Citroen's effort to update its portfolio. He spoke with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Peter Sigal about the French brand's next steps.
Citroen is concentrating on the small and compact segments. Can you also find success in minicars or larger vehicles?
Our core model strategy has eight international silhouettes [body styles], which means we can't be present everywhere, but we are working on a product range that will cover the main profit pools in the world. We have some customers in segments outside of B and C [small and compact], and we have to meet their expectations, but maybe we do so with a different answer than the expected ones. Our ambition is to lure customers outside the B- and C-segments, but by using a specific Citroen answer.
The C3 small hatchback is one of your most successful models, but it is still on an older platform. When will you update it on the PSA Group’s CMP multipower platform?
First, customers don't look at the platform. The design, comfort and connectivity are the main requirements from a customer point of view. The C3 ticks all these boxes. That is why it's a success, whatever the platform. That being said, we are working on new-energy solutions. In 2020, we will have our first new vehicles with a new generation of electric powertrain.
You have found a recognizable design language for Citroen, but as a future product planner, you must think ahead. Have you started working on the next generation?
We have defined product and style markers that are important to ensure consistency between the different products, and at the same time we are working on ways to evolve these markers. All these elements will change in the coming years, but what is most important is keeping the DNA of the brand, such as the advanced comfort approach.
Looking ahead 10 years what will be different about Citroen?
It's difficult to answer, but the DNA of the brand will be present. I think Citroen will still be challenging the rules in terms of design and will be the reference point in terms of comfort. The models won't be the same. In terms of powertrains, we will have a combination of different solutions, because we are an international brand, but the speed of new energy vehicle adoption won't be the same.