Reports are coming out yet again (source: Top Gear) that Citroën will kill off the C4 Cactus once the model runs out of steam – which may be soon. Many will decry this as a disappointment – the Cactus was a car we all wanted to love, with its quirky looks, bold engineering decisions and its impressive sub-1000kg (2,200lbs) weight. Unfortunately, the buying public did not agree, and the Cactus only ever managed 80,000 odd sales in it first full year (see full sale figures), falling to just under 60,000 in recent years. The Cactus’s performance in 2018 was particularly disappointing, given the model’s extensive facelift and the demise of the other similarly-sized hatch in Citroën’s lineup, the C4, an arguably even bigger sales disappointment for the brand (see full sale figures).
Now, Citroën needs to figure out: “what next?” First, it could re-enter the compact market with a new C4, possibly with a “faux-rider” version in the vain of the Ford Focus Active. Second, it could abandon the mainstream compact segment and focus on a crossover that the buying public wants, much as Nissan did with the Qashqai. Third, going against the reports, it could double-down on the Cactus’s ethos and engineering principles, fix the divisive quirks (proper wind-down windows in the back), and try to get it “right” the second time around.
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