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Citroën’s style-laden DS models (Part 2)

1/28/2015 1:36:40 AM
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The retail presence in Auckland has been given a boost with the opening of a new flagship showroom in Greenlane. Rose said there was a lot of pressure to get the dealership up to an international standard, at a cost of around a quarter of a million dollars. He says it helped to build a strong platform for the brand and the new showroom will also be used for marketing purposes. “It’s harder to find places to market your message these days,” says Rose, “so the space will also be used for non-car related events, like travel expos, to help bring people in to see the brand.”

Citroen DS5 is here to give you a unique driving experience and a dynamic ride that makes no compromises on comfort

As well as an increased dealer presence, it’s hoped new models will boost sales, including the introduction of the seven-seat Grand Picasso, which launches later this month. Though MPVs don’t sell well here, Rose says it’s a product he thinks has the ability to buck that trend. “Let’s judge it on its merits when it gets here. Across all the research we’ve done, we know there are buyers out there that want something that’s easier to park and drive and more efficient than their big SUV but they ask, what is in the market that fits the bill? I see that as an opportunity there and I’ll let the car speak for itself.” The diesel-powered Grand Picasso is the first Citroën to roll on the company’s new lightweight modular EMP2 platform and it has already been well received in Europe, so we look forward to its arrival. No, honestly.

The cockpit roof has an integral control panel that features a series of beautifully engineered toggle switches

More growth is expected to come on the back of the C3 which, since it was facelifted last year, has been largely responsible for the sales growth here. Along with rationalizing the product line from 23 models to 12, one of the goals with the relaunch of the brand, according to Rose, was to “provide good relative price points for consumers so the jump from one variant to the next is easier to justify. We want to get those grade walks (customers who come in looking at one variant, but are enticed by the extra specification offered by more expensive models) correct. This year, those steps will be even smaller, making it harder for customers to walk past the extra value of the higher spec variants.”

In the past, the French brands in New Zealand have struggled to achieve good pricing from the factory. It has also been hard to get the right models for the small Kiwi market, though Rose says this is changing. “The French are serious about growing the territories and now have three Citroën HQ employees permanently based in Sydney. We’ve had more contact with factory in the past year than we have ever had (Rose previously headed up Peugeot NZ) and we’re getting better pricing, and the right models with the right features.”

The Citroën DS5 breaks all the rules to create its own

So just where is the brand going to be in five years? Rose said “Part of that lies with the factory in terms of model development but we know there are growth opportunities in crossovers with Citroën Cactus, and the DS Ruby Line development for SUVs. Both are obvious ones for us. But we don’t just want to put a whole lot of new models into the market. We want to make sure that Citroën customers are satisfied that they are being well looked after.

“I’d like to think we are a franchise now that has genuine interest in its products and people. If we achieve another 30 per cent growth in 2014, we’ll be proud.”

Specs

         Price: $62,990

         Engine: 2.0L HDI 160; 4inline/16; 1997cc, Diesel

         Power: 120kW @ 3750rpm

         Torque: 340Nm @ 2000rpm

         Weight: 2125kg

         Transmission: 6 speed automatic

         Top speed: 212 km/h

         CO2: 158 g/km

 
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