For many years, Citroën's positioning has been rather vague, stuck between undeniable low-cost rumours and new models that are slow to arrive. This has fuelled fears and concerns about the future of a brand that remains the most collectible in France and is close to the heart of every Frenchman and even beyond. Before the summer, Citroën's new boss, Thierry Koskas, unveiled his roadmap and his ambitions for the brand, with a clear positioning at last.
A popular brand
For years, since the birth of Stellantis, there have been rumours that Citroën would be positioned as a low-cost brand in direct competition with Dacia. Even if the Romanian brand is a real hit and manages to place its Sandero in first place in sales in France and Europe, it is unthinkable to place Citroën in front of it, as the brand with the chevrons maintains a brand image made up of comfort, daring and technology. However, Dacia's sometimes audacious success shows that customers are looking for accessible vehicles, even if this means sacrificing a few ideas of style and comfort, but which do the job. And given this niche of the Romanian brand, it would not be normal to leave it alone without competition.
During his speech, Thierry Koskas made things clear: no, Citroën will not be a low-cost brand, its mission is to be a popular brand, not at the level of Dacia, but slightly above, with the ambition to offer more comfortable and stylish cars.
For Thierry Koskas, a popular brand is a brand that is loved by the public, that meets the expectations of consumers and is appreciated by them. This positioning of Citroën, in short, what it has been for 7 years, will be articulated around four key values: comfort, simplicity, durability and audacity.
Citroën will therefore continue to produce bold and comfortable cars with a simplified range of three trim levels and 5 options or option packs, excluding the personalisation offer. In this approach of simplifying the offer, there is also a desire to control costs in order to make the cars more accessible, but above all to allow the brand to benefit from the energy transition, which will see it offering only electric cars from now on. 2030. In this sense, the simplification of the offer will be present among all the manufacturers, Volkswagen having reduced the combinations of 99% on its new ID7 compared to the Golf or Renault offering only two versions on the new Rafale testifies this. And we can't say that these two brands are low-cost brands...
Finally, Citroën is committed to a sustainable approach because global warming and the energy transition require us to rethink our approach to reducing the impact of the car on the earth's resources. In addition, Citroën, like all other brands, will move towards cars with a longer life cycle, probably 15 years, which will be regularly updated to make them last longer, as demonstrated by the recent partnership between Stellantis and Galloo or Renew for the Renault group.
These four values of this popular brand, which Citroën wants to turn into a mantra, have been hammered home for years without anyone really understanding what they mean: making mobility accessible to all! Thierry Koskas responds by saying that "for all" means that Citroën will continue to offer cars for all types of customers, from the small Ami or C3 to the large C5 X, including family cars such as the C5 Aircross or Berlingo, cars that meet both personal and professional needs, and this is what distinguishes Citroën from Dacia, for example, where the Romanian brand's range is much narrower.
In conclusion, Citroën's positioning has finally been clarified and, above all, the brand has clearly indicated that it will not become a low-cost brand. It will now have to prove this with the future models that will be unveiled, including the future C3 that will be launched in October. Citroën will therefore remain a popular brand, as it has always been, offering entry-level models such as large saloons so that everyone can find an answer to their needs. This new positioning could be one of the brand's great strengths in relation to what the other brands are trying to do, particularly Peugeot and Renault. The Lion brand has clearly moved upmarket in recent years to become a top-of-the-range generalist brand with the prices that go with it. The recent underperformance of the 308 (two times less sold than the previous generation) or the 408 (reduced production) shows the limits of this positioning, which Renault is nevertheless trying to follow, just look at how the Rafale looks like a Peugeot. If the two French brands occupy a high-end territory, there remains a gaping hole for consumers who are unwilling or unable to put everything their agent wants in their car. This market, which is extremely large, can only be left to Dacia, and Citroën has every right to have a place there, a place it wants to occupy with bold, comfortable cars with a rewarding style.