Ded­i­cated fol­low­ers of French chic promised a deal

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By PAUL GOVER

FRENCH car fol­low­ers are be­ing promised a new deal, in­clud­ing more chic DS mod­els, as Citroen en­ters a new era in Aus­tralia.

Value will also be boosted across a nine-model line-up, with­ered Down Un­der since the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Citroen show­rooms will be more like a new-car bou­tique, with a much big­ger em­pha­sis on DS mod­els, in­clud­ing the up­com­ing DS3 cabrio.

‘‘We want to make the Citroen stand out. It’s not just a com­mod­ity brand,’’ says John Star­tari, who heads the French brand for the newlyap­pointed dis­trib­u­tor, the Sime Darby Mo­tors Group.

‘‘We also need Citroen to be more rel­e­vant.

‘‘So we’re ra­tio­nal­is­ing the line-up and in­creas­ing the com­pet­i­tive­ness.’’

Only 1702 Citroens were sold in Aus­tralia last year and, al­though Star­tari point­blank re­fuses to talk num­bers, the tar­get from Franch is ob­vi­ously more than 2000 cars in 2013.

That should fi­nally mean a C3 price leader in­stead of to­day’s $23,990 starter car, priced more in line with ri­vals like the Toy­ota Corolla that start at $19,990.

The DS5 is also set for a big­ger role, play­ing in a size and price class where Ci- troen wants to stand out from a huge range of ri­vals in­clud­ing the Ford Mon­deo, Hyundai i40, new Mazda6 and even the Peu­geot 508.

‘‘Aus­tralians re­ally don’t know about DS. I think there is an un­tapped de­mand for those cars, which are like the Mini,’’ says Star­tari.

‘‘All the DS cars are here now, but they haven’t re­ally been pushed. It’s about telling peo­ple what they are and what they can do.

‘‘And build­ing up the pack­age that goes with them. Our halo car is the DS5.

‘‘It is al­ready here but has never had a proper Aus­tralian launch. So we are start­ing vir­tu­ally with a clean slate in June. The price won’t come down but there will be bet­ter value.’’

He also con­firms the DS3 cabrio with­out be­ing more spe­cific on tim­ing than ‘‘later this year’’.

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