Reinventing a magic carpet ride

The reinvention of the Citroen comes with a sleek and stylish dash

Citroen is a car marque that has long been cushioned by its distinguished history, known for its trend-setting Traction Avant, its iconic ‘Deux Chevaux’ 2CV, and the gliding comfort of its highly-regarded hydropneumatic suspension.

The proudly French company, with its trademark double chevron badge, is now run by a Brit, who also happens to be one of a very select band of the most senior women in the motor industry. Linda Jackson used to be managing director of Citroen UK, and paid a quick day trip visit back to Blighty the other day to talk about the future direction of the brand that has a history stretching back 96 years.

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Bold plans

She has bold plans for Citroen, which has long enjoyed strong popularity in the UK. Only China and the company’s native France buy more of its cars than we do. Traditionally Citroen has been known for making cars that are a bit quirky, and although there is no direct translation in French, that is what she intends to bring back to the range.

Linda Jackson CEO Citroen

 

Early next year Citroen will announce details of what is described as a revolutionary new suspension system. It is intended to restore a hydropneumatic-style magic carpet ride to modern Citroens, to make them ride supremely comfortably with a ‘floating’ feel. Not at the expense of good body control, though, and without the soft sponginess that is sometimes associated with good ride comfort.

“Comfort is a core value of the Citroen brand, “ says Ms Jackson, “And this is our way to recreate the benefits of the hydropneumatic set-up in a more modern, more appropriate way.” Provisionally called ‘Citroen Ride’, the new suspension will replace the current hydraulic suspension system on the next Citroen C5.

Across the range

It won’t just be for the bigger and more up-market models, though. Citroen will start introducing it from 2017, and will successively add it with the arrival of future new models until it features on every car across the entire Citroen range. That includes the car that has already started to revive quirkiness in the model line-up, the C4 Cactus, with its patented body-protector side airbumps.

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We can also expect to see a more streamlined future Citroen range. Currently there are some 14 body shapes wearing the Citroen chevrons, but that will be slimmed down to a range of seven core body styles, plus the little Citroen C1 city car that is produced in collaboration with sister company Peugeot and as a joint venture with Toyota: hence the C1, Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo that are all fundamentally the same car, produced in the same factory.

The Citroen C1 is produced in close proximity with other models such as the 108

With a talented Brit at the helm, bold plans and world-beating new technology on the way, it looks like Citroen should be in good shape to celebrate the company’s centenary in 2019.

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Sue Baker is a seasoned motoring journalist with a love of all things automotive.