A few days ago, I announced the probable return of the thermal-powered Berlingo to the French market, where it will only be available with a 100% electric engine from January 2022. If this return is not yet official in France, it is becoming official in Spain, where the Citroën Berlingo HDi will soon be back.
Marketed for more than 30 years, the Berlingo has become an emblematic model of the brand with three generations that have enjoyed the success that the last one, presented in 2018, has reinforced thanks to its many qualities.
However, at the beginning of 2022, Stellantis announced the abandonment of thermal engines for the Citroën Berlingo, as well as for its cousins Opel and Peugeot, to concentrate exclusively on electric motors. This rather curious choice was made in response to the strict emission quotas imposed by the European Union, with heavy fines for exceeding them. Inevitably, despite the silence and smoothness offered by the electric version of the Berlingo, sales have collapsed from 35-40,000 units per year to just 11,879 units (at the end of October) in 2023, encouraging the brand to reintroduce it with a diesel engine to boost sales in 2024.
Electric and diesel in Spain in 2024
It was Nino Coutinho, General Manager of Citroën in Spain and Portugal, who made the announcement during a recent meeting with journalists. He confirmed that the new Berlingo will continue to be offered as a 100% electric version with a range increased by 20% to 320 km thanks to its new 50 kWh LFP battery, but that it will also have a diesel version for those who travel long distances.
By the end of the first quarter of 2024, the new Berlingo will be available with a diesel engine, when orders will be taken for this restyled version, which should see a significant increase in sales with an engine better suited to the versatility offered by the Berlingo and the needs of MPV consumers. It should be noted that the performance has not been communicated, it seems that only the 100 hp version will be offered.
However, this return of diesel to the Citroën Berlingo in Spain does not rule out the path towards the energy transition imposed by the European Union, which aims to ensure that by 2035 only electric cars will be marketed in Europe, Berlingo understood, it will therefore be necessary to adapt to this new framework. However, we can only welcome Citroën's decision in Spain to return to a diesel engine for its favourite MPV, which should have an impact on the Berlingo's sales, but also on those of the brand, which recorded a 2.4% decline in Spain in 2023 with 53,220 units sold.
This return of a diesel engine to the Citroën Berlingo in Spain from March does not mean the return of such an offer on the French market, which would be severely affected by the government penalty. If the return of the thermic Berlingo in France is confirmed for 2024, it could be that this offer is limited, we will know more in a few weeks. Nevertheless, it is a good sign for the brand that the Berlingo diesel is making a comeback, let's hope that the latter is also back on the various European markets, which would inevitably be good for sales of the brand and the Berlingo. as much as its redesigned version is proving to be very successful.