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Citroen puts the brakes on C4

Under the C: Citroen only launched the facelifted C4 in August last year, but its future in Australia is now uncertain.

Sime Darby halts Citroen C4 indefinitely as its local future is evaluated

9 Mar 2016

IMPORTATION of the Citroen C4 has been paused indefinitely as local distributor Sime Darby Motor Group re-evaluates the future of what once was the French brand’s small hatchback mainstay.

Citroen Automobiles Australia insists the C4 has not been culled from the line-up, however it has stopped further importation from France as current dealer stock is enough to satisfy demand until a final decision is made.

“Technically we can still get it (C4 hatchback) out of the factory but it’s getting a proposition that fits,” Citroen Automobiles Australia national sales manager Shaun Mackle told GoAuto at the national media launch of the C4 Cactus in the New South Wales this week.

“We brought it back in mid-last year and then, look, there are some exchange rate pressures on that car that makes it financially not viable for the business,” Mr Mackle added.

The facelifted C4 re-launched in Australia in August 2015 offering a new 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, shared with the Peugeot 308, and available in $29,990 (plus on-road costs) Seduction and $33,990 (plus on-road costs) Exclusive model grades.

However, the Citroen small hatchback did not fire, and between September 2015 and February 2016 it has averaged seven sales per month.

Part of the reason for halting further C4 orders, Mr Mackle explains, is due to in-house rivalry in the form of Peugeot’s 308 hatch.

“It’s natural to compare that car (C4) to 308 and when you compare the engine and the drivetrain and then you compare the package, it just doesn’t fit,” he contended.

“The 308 is a much stronger car in that segment than C4 ever will be.

“When (next generation) C4 comes in a few years time we will definitely have a look at it, but it’s kind of a similar situation with C3 – good car, but (Peugeot) 208 came out, light years ahead, it made it natural for C3 to come to an end until a new model comes along.” The C3 light hatchback was pulled from the Citroen line-up in April 2015, but Citroen Automobiles Australia insists a decision to officially drop the C4 from the range has not yet been made. The C4 has been part of the French brand’s line-up since the original launched in 2005.

“There is definitely a volume of C4 to push through and if there is a more viable business case that comes through for that car then we will look at it,” Mr Mackle said.

As with the C3, however, the C4 is marked as an older-generation Citroen product. The C4 Grand Picasso, he contends, “was the first car that came along that looked like a Citroen, felt like a Citroen, it was brilliantly put together, customers love it (and) Cactus builds on that”.

“Cactus should give us the volume that we lost from C3 and C4,” Mr Mackle added.

“As new product comes down the line and we can go into more segments, and the next logical step is a C3 replacement that is not too far, and then C4 Aircross which will follow, as that starts to come online and the product positioning will follow.

“We have some pretty comprehensive plans to make it (Citroen) grow.”

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