Citroen is to sell a China-designed car, the C4 Sedan, in Europe later this year. Could this be the start of something big? Probably not.
The car, known as the C-Triomphe in China, is hardly an eye-catcher so I suspect the move is more of a tactical ploy to fill a gap in its European range, rather than a recognition that the C-Triomphe triumphs (outch) in the design stakes.
Indeed, the Edmunds.com website argues that the move shows how the French marque, once known for its original designs, is now “retreating furiously on the design front.”
When it arrives late this year in European markets, the car will be badged simply as the C4 Sedan, joining the existing C4 coupe and hatchback. The sedan will ride on a longer wheelbase, with a larger interior and a roomier trunk.
The C-Triomphe, which is based on the the C4, was launched last year in China and it was designed to cater for Chinese tastes, as the three-box design is the preferred bodystyle of car buyers in China. It sports such de rigeur features such as dual-function directional headlamps,speed limiter, cruise control and integrated air freshener — you can even choose the smell.
For the Chinese market, Citroen chose to name the car the C-Triomphe instead of the C4 because “4” is considered unlucky in China. More on the C-Triomphe here
The C-Triomphe shares its front-wheel-drive platform with the Peugeot 307 sedan and is is made in partnership with Dongfong Auto in Wuhan, a fast-growing second-tier city. More on Wuhan and China's second-tier cities in this EngagingChina article. More on Chinese car design in this article.