C-Aircross concept will be at Geneva show and is a cipher for how Citroën intends to replace the C3 Picasso

C-Aircross concept will be at Geneva show and is a cipher for how Citroën intends to replace the C3 Picasso

This is the third of five features in a series which examines the current and future models for Groupe PSA's passenger car brands. Following on from a look at DS, and then at the A-to-E segment sedans, hatchbacks and estates of the Citroën brand; the division's next electric models, SUVs and monospaces are explored below. Peugeot, the subject of the final two chapters, will follow in the coming days.

EVs & PHEVs

PSA and Mitsubishi Motors signed a deal in September 2009 for the supply of 25,000 small EVs a year. Production of the Citroën C-Zero and its twin, the Peugeot iOn, started in October 2010. The C-Zero was first seen at the Brussels motor show in January 2010. and went on sale in selected European countries from late 2010.

In March 2010, MMC and PSA upped the stakes, agreeing an enhanced supply deal for a combined 100,000 units of the iOn and C-Zero by 2015.

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which is the model upon which the Peugeot and Citroën EVs are based, has been built since June 2009 and is therefore long overdue for replacement. As the C-Zero and Peugeot iOn has sold in only tiny numbers, they are unlikely to be directly replaced. MMC's own successor model is expected to be smaller, and part of NMKV, the Nissan Motor-Mitsubishi Motors kei-vehicle joint venture.

One size up from the C-Zero is the Citroën E-Mehari. This 3.8m long four seat convertible was revealed to the media in December 2015. It went on sale in certain markets from April 2016. This model is meant to revive memories of the Citroën Mehari, an open-topped car in the style of the Mini Moke which was once popular in both France and certain former French and Belgian African colonies.

The range is claimed to be 200km. Bolloré is the supplier of the 30kWh lithium polymer battery cell pack, and the car is closely related to the Bolloré Bluesummer. The bodywork is thermoplastic and the E-Mehari can be fully recharged in eight hours via a 16 amp socket.

Groupe PSA is expected to continue building the E-Mehari and Bolloré Bluesummer at its Rennes plant in western France until 2023. There should be facelifts for both in mid-2020. 

Another electric model in the B segment will be the E-Elysée, a plug-in version of the C-Elysée. This small sedan had its world premiere as a prototype at the Beijing motor show in April 2016. It is claimed to have a range of up to 250km and can be fast-charged in just 30 minutes (6.5 hours in normal charging mode). 

The production version of the E-Elysée is due to be manufactured by Dongfeng Citroën later in 2017. As it is based on an existing model, the second generation E-Elysée should be on sale in China as soon as 2020. 

Groupe PSA's intentions for any Citroën EVs or PHEVs in the segments above B/Compacts are unclear. While DS will certainly have such vehicles amongst its future models, it remains to be seen as to if or when Citroën will join the would-be premium division with plug-in models. 

Crossovers & SUVs

The brand's smallest crossover is the C3-XR. This is a rival for the Honda Vezel and others in the B-SUV/crossover segment of the Chinese market. It was previewed by the C-XR concept at April 2014's Beijing motor show. The C-XR looked production-ready, with the prototype claimed to be the first SUV concept developed by Citroën and the DongFeng Motor Group.

The vehicle, which resembled a crossover version of the C-Elysée, was quoted as being 4.26m long, with a 2.65 wheelbase. The production model, which is front-wheel drive only, made its debut at November 2014's Guangzhou motor show. The C3-XR then entered production the following month. It is not exported to Europe as it has neither a manual gearbox nor a diesel engine.

There should be a facelift in 2018 and a replacement model in 2021. In Europe, the C3-XR's equivalent will be the replacement for the C3 Picasso.

There is another crossover in the B segment. This is the AirCross, a C3 Picasso-based model for certain markets in the Americas. 

The Citroën AirCross differs from the C3 Picasso with a higher ride height, plastic body cladding, an externally-mounted spare wheel and roof bars. This model went on sale in Brazil, Argentina and other South American markets in September 2010. The vehicle it effectively replaced, the C3 XTR, was eventually phased out during 2012. No direct replacement for the AirCross is expected once production ceases later this year.

The C4 Cactus is an unusual model. The first part of its model name suggests it is a rival for the Nissan Qashqai when in fact it is closer in size to the Juke.

This crossover had its public debut at March 2014's Geneva motor show. Production commenced during the following month, with the first cars in LHD European market dealerships in June 2014, with cars for the UK and Ireland from September 2014.

The Cactus concept at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show previewed this model. The car is based upon the C4 but until the media preview, it was unclear why PSA would launch another C segment crossover - it already had the Mitsubishi ASX-derived C4 Aircross as its rival for the Nissan Qashqai. 

The C4 Cactus is an attempt to do something different in this segment: there is a quasi-bench seat in the front (automatic versions only), and at 965kg, base variants weigh 200kg less than the C4 on which the Cactus is based so fuel consumption and CO2 numbers are highly competitive.

Both the bench-like front seat and 'airbumps' from the concept made it to the production model and buyers may order the protective air-filled bumpers in many different colour variations. The airbumps were developed by REHAU using a material supplied by BASF. PSA took a lot of cost out of the car to bring prices and weight down. This means a single piece folding rear bench seat (11kg claimed saving), no sunblind for the photochromic glass roof and back windows which pop out rather than roll down (6kg claimed saving for each).

The C4 Cactus gave the Villaverde plant a new lease of life. The factory began building the crossover in April 2014 and kept ramping up until it reached 380 units a day three months later. The plant has a capacity of 200,000 units/annum. The Peugeot 207 CC, which was made on the same line as the C4 Cactus, was not replaced: it was phased out during the second half of 2015. This means the Madrid plant builds only the C4 Cactus.

The Cactus M, a concept which premiered at September 2015's Frankfurt IAA, was meant to revive memories of the Citroen Mehari. However, the E-Mehari production model which then followed, revealed to the media in January 2016, is not Cactus-based but a rebodying of the Bollore Bluesummer EV. Meanwhile, an SUV derivative of the C4 Cactus could be in the planning stages.

A C4 Cactus facelift is due in 2018 and the second generation model in 2021.

The C4 Aircross is one of two SUVs supplied by Mitsubishi Motors to European Peugeot and Citroën dealers. Both the C4 Aircross and Peugeot 4008 share components with the Mitsubishi RVR/ASX but unlike the original, they are available with PSA and Ford of Europe's 1.6-litre diesel.

The C4 Aircross and the Peugeot 4008 had their global debuts at the Geneva motor show in March 2012 and while they sold modestly well in their first year, neither has been very successful.

The Dongfeng Peugeot Citroën distribution network began selling the C4 Aircross in China from the second quarter of 2012. In that market, there is a choice between 1.6- and 2.0-litre petrol engines.

The second generation C4 Aircross is expected to have been previewed by a concept which had its global debut at the Shanghai motor show in April 2015. PSA stated that its platform was EMP2 and that it was 4.5m long. So as well as having a different spelling - 'Aircross' versus the first generation 'AirCross' - it would be a bigger vehicle. 

This new model should be built in China and Brazil as well as in Brittany (France). Unlike the current model which is supplied by Mitsubishi Motors, it will use a PSA architecture.

PSA issued this release to the media in June 2016:

As part of the product offensive included in the Push to Pass plan, which includes 34 new models, the Rennes plant will start manufacturing a new market-winning vehicle for Citroën by 2018. The C84 project is part of a dynamic product strategy that will see four new models launched by the brand in less than 18 months.

Based on the EMP2 platform, the new crossover will be manufactured alongside the future Peugeot 5008 and the Citroën E-Mehari. With these three models, output at the plant will ultimately reach 100,000 vehicles per year compared with 60,000 currently.

The new AirCross will also be manufactured in China: in July 2014, PSA and Dongfeng revealed plans to erect a new plant in city of Chengdu (Sichuan province). With total capacity eventually reaching 300,000 vehicles a year, DPCA's fourth plant builds Dongfeng Citroën and Dongfeng Peugeot and Fengshen-badged SUVs and MPVs. 

DPCA's prior production base comprised three plants in Wuhan, which had been running on two shifts for a total potential capacity of 750,000 units a year. With the fourth plant, production capacity was lifted to one million units a year in 2016.

The C4 Aircross should be revealed later in 2017 and enter production from the fourth quarter. Like the closely related Peugeot 3008 and 5008, it will take on the Renaults Kadjar and Koleos as well as the Nissan Qashqai and VW Tiguan.

Monospaces/MPVs

The Nemo Multispace is small MPV which is based on the Nemo van. It had its world premiere at the Brussels motor show in January 2008. The Peugeot equivalent is the Bipper Tepee. Both models are supplied by Tofas and built at the Turkish firm's Bursa plant on the same line as the nearly identical Fiat Qubo.

Whilst the Nemo is an extremely small vehicle for a minivan, it boasts space worthy of the next segment up, with claimed elbowroom of 1,420mm at the front and 1,441mm at the rear, headroom of 1,063mm at the front and 1,049mm at the rear, and a total cabin length of 1,680mm.

A facelifted Nemo was announced in June 2016. This should be the last update for this model before a second generation range appears in late 2018 or early 2019.

The second generation Berlingo is both a light commercial and an MPV. The second of these is marketed as the Berlingo Multispace. The Citroën is the twin of the Peugeot Partner/Ranch. Both went on sale from January 2008. 

A facelift for the Berlingo premiered at the Geneva motor show in March 2012 with a second update appearing at the 2015 Geneva show.

The first generation Berlingo is also still built, as is the original Peugeot Partner. Both are now manufactured only in Argentina. The older generation Berlingo and Partner were renamed Citroen Berlingo First and Peugeot Partner Origin once the second generation models appeared.

A successor for the Citroën Berlingo/Berlingo Multispace was confirmed by PSA and General Motors in April 2015 as being under development. The Peugeot Partner replacement and the Opel/Vauxhall Combo successor are part of the same development programme. All will be manufactured at Vigo, with the first of the three due to appear in 2018.

The C3 Picasso, a small minivan, went on sale across Europe in March 2009 and in Brazil in May 2011. It is closely related to the DS 3 as well as the second generation C3. The model's world premiere was at the Paris motor show in October 2008. A facelifted model premiered at the Paris show in September 2012.

In Slovakia, cars come down the same line that had hitherto only built the Peugeot 207. The Trnava plant formerly made 200,000 cars a year on a two-shift system, with a third added for C3 Picasso build.

Even before it added C3 Picasso production in Brazil, PSA had built a modified C3 Picasso, the Citroen AirCross, there (see Crossovers & SUVs). The Brazilian-made C3 Picasso also had some styling modifications ahead of the start of build in May 2011. The last C3 Picasso was built in Brazil in October 2015 but production continues in Slovakia.

The C3 Picasso replacement is the car in question for the 'joint multi-purpose vehicle programme for the small car segment for Opel/Vauxhall and the Citroën brand' which PSA and General Motors announced in October 2012. The Opel/Vauxhall model in question is the Crossland X.

In September 2013, PSA stated that B-MPVs from both companies would be built in the GM España plant in Zaragoza (Figuerelas). The Opel engineering team in Rüsselsheim led the engineering execution of the joint project. PSA Peugeot Citroën will supply powertrains for all applications.

With the next C3 Picasso shifting build locations from Trnava, this freed up the Slovak plant for another product: the just-launched Citroën C3.

The C3 Picasso's replacement might lose that name and become the C3 Aircross. It will definitely change from being a minivan/monospace into an SUV. This is the clear message from the 4.1m long C-Aircross concept which will premiere at the 2017 Geneva motor show (see image above).

In the European D-Monospace segment, Citroën has the C4 Picasso as well as the longer Grand C4 Picasso

Production commenced in May 2013 and this was the first vehicle to be based upon PSA's Efficient Modular Platform 2 architecture. The Grand C4 Picasso was announced in June 2013, just as the C4 Picasso was going on sale across Europe. The seven-seater variant has a longer wheelbase and is distinguished by different roof bars and a few other subtle styling differences.

Citroen says some versions of the Grand C4 are 110kg lighter than those in the first generation series. This is explained by the use of EMP2, which combines aluminium and steel alongside a composite rear floor. This is said to reduce the vehicle weight by 60kg. There is also an aluminium bonnet and a composite tailgate which together reduce the overall mass by a further 40kg.

A facelifted model range - C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso - was announced in May 2016, going on sale across Europe from August 2016. The changes were very small, however. A second facelift is expected in early 2018. The next generations are due in 2020.

The SpaceTourer, a large monospace/MPV, was announced by PSA and TME (Toyota Motor Europe) in December 2015. It is part of a three vehicle joint venture, the other two models being the Peugeot Traveller and second generation Toyota Proace. All are manufactured at the SEVEL nord plant (*Société Européenne de Véhicules Légers du Nord) in the French town of Lieu-Saint-Amand/Hordain. Coincidentally, this is close to Valenciennes where Toyota has a car plant.

PSA and TME revealed all three models at the Geneva motor show in March 2016. Each is available as an MPV for private buyers and as a Shuttle for business users ('SpaceTourer Business Lounge'). Up to nine occupants can be carried. The Proace, SpaceTourer and Traveller share powertrains and a platform.

These were the first vehicles for a modified version of PSA's EMP2 architecture. This has the front part of that platform but the rest was developed especially for the SpaceTourer, Proace and Traveller.

The LCV versions of the Traveller and SpaceTourer are the Peugeot Expert and Citroën Jumpy.

All these models are due to be facelifted in mid-2020 and replaced in 2024.

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

More data on vehicle lifetime and future product plans is available in PLDB from QUBE.