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The future of Peugeot-Citroën

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BruceB   
Tue Jan 21 2014, 10:25am
Joined: Sep 13 2010
Member No: #234
Location: Hampshire
I'm not sure how many of you taken an active interest in the City pages and the fortunes of dynastic Continental conglomerates, but the short- to medium-term financial future of Peugeot-Citroën appears to have been secured in a rescue deal.

Briefly, the Peugeot family, currently 25% owners of the ordinary shares (but 38% of the voting rights) in the group, are to have their holding diluted by the Chinese Dongfeng, which will be subscribing €800m for new shares. This will result in the family's interest being reduced to 14%, with Dongfeng holding also 14% - matched by the French government, which took a guiding hand in the negotiations. At the heart of it is a family squabble, with Thierry Peugeot (PSA group chairman) standing implacably against the plan, which had been put together by his cousin Robert (chairman of the family's overall holding company). The vote was passed yesterday.

Ah well, you will probably be thinking, what a surprise; yet another venerable European car-builder falls to the Chinese. Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. What was marginally interesting, however, was that the French state will be taking a 14% stake, and the report in today's Daily Murdoch states categorically that the deal was struck "after President Hollande's ministers insisted that they would never allow a Chinese takeover..." Now remind me, what *is* the French word for chauvinism.

Now, those brave words do not bind any future French government, of course, but they do give some comfort that the group will survive as a European company for a while longer. What it all means for Citroën is a different matter, of course.

The feeling is that the shareholding structure makes no sense, with a three-way pull between Paris, Beijing and the family. There was, however, a topically wry closing comment. "Yet Mr. Hollande's idea had two virtues. It saved French honour and ensured that he avoided the thing he hates most - a row. He has enough of those at home."
C6Dave   
Tue Jan 21 2014, 01:39pm

Joined: Oct 01 2009
Member No: #1
Location: Northumberland
PSA see China as one of there main markets and already build cars out there with some models specific to that country so......
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ChrisHunter   
Tue Jan 21 2014, 09:37pm
Joined: Jul 20 2010
Member No: #188
Location: Lancashire
wonder if there's a chance Citroën could be floated-off, before too long - within five years, say ?
Tjensen   
Tue Jan 21 2014, 09:51pm
Joined: Jul 17 2012
Member No: #954
Location: Bergen
A rebirth as a small enthusiast brand ? The pattern now is to follow mainstream volume paths spiralling downwards.
dsharples   
Wed Jan 22 2014, 12:38am
Joined: May 18 2010
Member No: #119
Location: Woodbridge
But how many "enthusiasts" are prepared to pay for the products produced by a (low volume?) "enthusiasts Citroen brand". Perhaps sales of new C6's would suggest "not enough"?

Sadly, no matter our relationship with brand (my own hydraulic ride has lasted for 23 years so far) - we have to accept economic reality.
BruceB   
Wed Jan 22 2014, 12:01pm
Joined: Sep 13 2010
Member No: #234
Location: Hampshire
ChrisHunter wrote ...
wonder if there's a chance Citroën could be floated-off, before too long - within five years, say ?
See this snowball? See that hell?
smihaialex   
Wed Jan 22 2014, 04:08pm
Joined: Sep 18 2012
Member No: #1031
Location: Bucharest
Very interesting read, thanks Bruce

I personally think that it's either going to be a Hyundai-Kia type of thing, where they'll be making the same cars with different aesthetics, meaning that the future of hydraulic suspension & avant-garde design Citroens is grim, or they will sell off Citroen to some other Chinese/Indian/whatever company and they'll develop it individually as a standalone brand.

There is also a third possibility, which I think would suit the company best, but I don't think they're even considering it... This 3rd possibility would involve that instead of a Hyundai-Kia type of thing, they develop a VW-Audi type of thing, making Peugeot the equivalent of VW and Citroen that of Audi... I personally think that this would be a winning formula allowing for these two brands not to canibalize their already thin market share, and instead, establishing themselves as individual brands appealing to different segments of their audience...

Less generally speaking, keep the DS3, DS4 and DS5, and get rid of the entire C line, and develop a DS6 to replace our C6...

The one thing that I think would make a difference for the Citroen brand, though, would be if they developed and launched new modern-retro versions of the 2CV and the original DS, just like BMW does with mini, just like VW does with the Beetle, but not create overly expensive modern versions that no one would buy, but instead focus on the values and create, realisticly priced versions tat would appeal to a large audience - these cars could salvage Citroen and take the brand to new heights - a 10-15,000 EUR 2CV and a 20-30,000 EUR DS, with similar aesthetics as the originals, but with all the comforts of modern technology... I personally would buy them both - the 2CV for Wifey, and the DS for myself

Thoughts?

Yours,
Sam
C6Dave   
Wed Jan 22 2014, 06:52pm

Joined: Oct 01 2009
Member No: #1
Location: Northumberland
smihaialex wrote ...


The one thing that I think would make a difference for the Citroen brand, though, would be if they developed and launched new modern-retro versions of the 2CV and the original DS, just like BMW does with mini, just like VW does with the Beetle,

The BMW 'Mini' is nothing like the original and keeps getting bigger to the point that new models could be classed as 'obese' and as for the very rounded 'Beetle' which is just a Golf in disguise I don't think that's the way to go.

It needs some original Citroen styling and flair in such a dull market.......
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jacktherev   
Wed Jan 22 2014, 09:38pm
Joined: Sep 06 2013
Member No: #1423
Location: Co Down, Northern Ireland
It needs some original Citroen styling and flair in such a dull market.......

I totally agree with you as that was what made Citroen always stand out from the competition.
C6Dave   
Thu Jan 23 2014, 09:30am

Joined: Oct 01 2009
Member No: #1
Location: Northumberland
I saw the TV ad for the 'new' Pug 307 last night and they were crowing on about the height of the speedo etc. which the C4 had back in 2004......... but has now been dropped on the new model

It looks like all the Citroen innovations are being used on the Pug range and the Citroen cars are becoming more 'mainstream' (i.e. boring)

The pneumatic suspension on the C4 Picasso has also been dropped, yes there were air bag quality issues, but it was still a useful feature for some.

Where it will end is going to be interesting.
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smihaialex   
Thu Jan 23 2014, 10:46am
Joined: Sep 18 2012
Member No: #1031
Location: Bucharest
Yes Dave, I completely agree...

The new 2CV and the new DS, if they ever get built, have to have the same DNA as the originals.

Much more like what Fiat is doing with the new 500, then what BMW is doing with the mini, or what VW is doing with the Beetle. I mean, yes, the new 500 is a bigger, safer, more practical and more modern version, but it is waaay more similar to the original in both aesthetics as well as spirit, not to mention the pricetag, which is very very good on entry level models, while minis and Beetles are completely unaffordable to members of their original target.

Or, perhaps a better example would be the Porsche 911 - sure, it changed since it's original release in 1963, but it hasn't really changed - it still has same values, same attitude, same spirit, same recognisable & timeless design...

It could be the same for the 2CV and the DS, and they could be the only 2 models that Citroen ever makes - a 2CV compact, and a DS mid-sized saloon, and that's it, they'd live forever. Of course, once the concept proves successful (which it will), they could launch a crossover version of the 2CV compact (mini SUV) and an SUV version of the DS saloon, but anyway, those are the designs and the models that put Citroen on the map and, if they were smart, they could milk that cow forever.

Unfortunately, the name of the family that owns it is Peugeot, not Citroen, so, this may very well remain a dream for the rest of time, and Citroen may very well become extinct (which in a way, it already is, since the C6 is no longer manufactured and their current line-up is sooo teutonic, with just a spinkle of japanese here and there)...

Yours,
Sam

PS: indeed, I saw the Pug 308 at the Bucharest Motor Show and it's very very reminiscent of the original C4...
 

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