VELIZY, France -- The next generation of Citroen’s best-selling C3 small hatchback will be a full-electric model built in Europe that will sell for less than 25,000 euros, said Thierry Koskas, the brand’s new CEO.
The model, which will be called the e-C3, will have big shoes to fill, said Koskas, who replaced Vincent Cobee this February. The current C3 accounts for 30 percent of Citroen’s sales in Europe, even though it is seven years old and based on an older PSA Group platform than the rest of Stellantis’ small car lineup.
“It’s absolutely remarkable how sales [of the C3] have held up,” Koskas told journalists this week at Citroen parent Stellantis’ French headquarters in Velizy, west of Paris.
Koskas acknowledged the threat from Chinese brands such as SAIC’s MG brand and BYD, which are exporting low-cost EVs to Europe. “They have very competitive products,” he said, adding that Citroen will rise to the challenge. “Our response is the e-C3,” he said.
Koskas described the e-C3 as a “small hatchback with SUV elements,” but said it should not be considered a true crossover or SUV. Other small and minicars have adopted a similar design philosophy, including the Toyota Aygo X minicar and the Dacia Sandero Stepway small car.
The current C3 is built in Trnava, Slovakia; earlier generations starting in 2002 were built in Poissy, France.
Citroen already builds a low-price electric C3 model as part of its Smart Car program for India and other developing and emerging markets.
The e-C3 for those regions started production in January in Chennai, India, at a factory jointly owned by Stellantis and CK Birla. It is primarily sold with gasoline engines and uses a platform that was developed with Tata Consulting. That model has a range of 320 km (200 miles) from a 29-kilowatt-hour battery.