Blog: Dave LeggettDifferentiating Peugeot and Citroen

Dave Leggett | 28 January 2008

Over at PSA Peugeot Citroen CEO Christian Streiff is well aware that introducing more upscale products helps the whole group become more profitable. For Peugeot, the 308 RCZ two-seater production concept is a clue. It will be a vital statement of brand intent when the production version goes on sale later this year. It will have to be very good to compete with the likes of the Audi TT, but there are very positive reports about the drive and it certainly looks the part.

Peugeot, a driver's brand? Yes, I get that (that 'drive of your life' tagline and so on). And I also get the idea of Citroen brand values being something else - value-for-money, a little quirky, utility driven even. I still don't get the idea of big executive sector Citroen saloons though (the venerable DS and CX were of another age, let's forget them - today Citroen is overwhelmingly about small/medium hatches and MPVs; the big saloons are oddities - who wants an exec/luxury car with a Citroen badge on the grille?).

What about Citroen majoring on 1) Value for money; 2) Utility, not luxury; and 3) Green values - it could lead on all PSA environmental initiatives, be set-up to be a 'green leader' perhaps?

Differentiating those two brands and rationalising product further looks to me like the big challenge for PSA, especially as it finds money for these new upscale models over the next few years.

Upscale/premium should be mainly for Peugeot I think, with Citroen taking the lead with things like the C-Cactus concept. That doesn't necessarily mean very low-margin; some people will pay quite a bit to be more environmentally friendly.

What does the Citroen brand currently say to the man/woman in the street, in Europe outside of France? Cheap and French, possibly not the best build quality; oh, and there's an ad on TV in which a cheap hatchback turns into a Transformer for some reason (and no, fairly or not, Citroen is not generally seen as an industry tech leader). Wouldn't it be better if Citroen was associated with a bit more than that? Could be an opportunity there.

FRANCE: PSA seeks to move image upscale


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