At around the same time Renault introduced the (in my opinion) strikingly handsome and very promising Talisman four-door sedan to replace its struggling Laguna midsized hatchback and station wagon, Citroën CEO Linda Jackson announced that the next generation of its midsized car the C5 will be produced in China and is unlikely to be exported to other parts of the world, including Europe.
According to Jackson, “In China there is clearly a requirement for a C5 segment car, and that is clearly going to be within our product plan. But we need to ask ourselves: Is there opportunity in other regions? I don’t know the answer to that.” That makes perfect sense, considering the company sold just 18.000 units of the model in Europe last year, down from a peak of 145.000 in 2002 with the previous model. Until May, sales are down another 28% this year. Contrastingly, the C5 sold 33.000 units in China last year, where it’s produced since 2010 at the joint venture plant with Dongfeng Motor in Wuhan. 2015 sales are down 22% until May. Jackson didn’t indicate when China sales of the new C5 would start. The current model was introduced in 2008.
What’s clearly missing from this picture is that Citroën should be focusing on finally getting a proper SUV in its line-up, because that’s the way the market is heading right now. The midsized segment is in deep crisis in Europe, and Chinese preferences are shifting from sedans to SUVs at an amazing pace. [Read more…]