Citroen C4 hatchback set to return

Exclusive image previews how the new Citroen C4 could look, after CEO Linda Jackson admitted the C4 Cactus is just a ‘transitional step’

Citroen is likely to follow up its latest, revised C4 Cactus with a more mainstream rival to the VW Golf and Ford Focus, the firm’s boss has suggested.

The French maker dropped the slow-selling, ultra-conservative C4 hatch last year, and it’s hoping the revamped C4 Cactus, due on sale shortly, will compete with the Golf, Focus and Vauxhall Astra.

However, CEO Linda Jackson has acknowledged to Auto Express that the repositioned C4 Cactus is “a transitional step” and admitted that in the medium to longer term, Citroen is likely to go back to a true C-segment-sized car, even if it’s not as conventional as the outgoing C4. Our exclusive image previews the car’s look, although Jackson has hinted that the firm will take an extreme approach.

• Best hatchbacks on sale right now

“The C-segment, and that type of vehicle – the regular C4 hatchback – is extremely important to us. So as we come into the replacement of new vehicles, we will be bringing in a type of replacement for C4,” Jackson said. “I’m not saying we’re going to get rid of Cactus, but we will introduce a new C-segment car.

“It’ll be in the sector but it will not be traditional. Nor will it necessarily be the C4 Cactus. As time evolves, we’ll move back into what we call our core model strategy, which will be to have a C-segment car. C4 Cactus is a transitional step; you could see it like that. It’s a pragmatic way of doing this.”

Jackson rejected the idea that Citroen’s Cactus principles – introduced on a concept and then on the C4 Cactus – are being watered down and dropped through time. “I still love the original C4 Cactus because it’s given us so much inspiration,” she said.

Citroen saw its global sales decline in 2017, thanks mainly to a huge drop in China, where stronger local brands and a lack of an SUV in the firm’s line-up resulted in a fall of nearly 48 per cent. However, Jackson believes the arrival of the C3 Aircross and imminent C5 Aircross can get Citroen back on track.

She also suggested up to 10 per cent of Citroen sales will be online by 2021, adding: “Can I imagine a point where you look at a car online, configure it, play round with colours and options, then go to a dealer to touch and feel the car, test it, then order [back] at home? Yes, I can.”

Click here for all the latest on the new 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus...

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