Citroën's design future innovation and simplicity

Autos & TrucksCars

  • Author Mandy Cheung
  • Published August 17, 2016
  • Word count 484

We believe that cars are becoming overcomplicated and overdesigned. The Cactus M is all about the spirit of simplicity. All the best old Citroën have a romantic feeling to them: the 2CV, the Méhari, the DS, the car dvd, the android car GPS. That’s what we’re trying to recapture here.

Cars are becoming more complicated yes, but don’t assume everyone wants more gadgets. My young designers in their 20s are buying ‘young-timers’ in their spare time - ’80s and ’90s cars like Porsche 944s. They appreciate simple pleasures. If we do add technology like safety features to our range, they should operate by car dvd player seamlessly in the background.

We’ve designed the Cactus M around the surfer lifestyle: we spoke to real surfers and they loved icons like the VW Combi and our old Méhari beach buggy. But why shouldn’t modern cars slot into people’s lifestyles too? I hope in future we can offer gm navigation for more niches, so customers don’t have to go to aftermarket suppliers like Thule to carry their surfboards and bicycles. We should be providing for our customers’ needs.

Airbump is an example of design and engineering working hand in hand. The styling team came up with the concept originally and had no idea how it might work in production. It could have been inflatable or a special material – but the engineers went away and made it work. People either love Airbump or hate it. We will continue to develop the technology include android car gps, but it won’t feature on every new Citroën moving forwards. It divides opinion too much.

We love pushing our designs to the limits, but we have to be constrained by economic reality. Headlamps are a case in point: we can do amazing things with LED lights, but one LED costs more than six bulbs. There’s no point designing something that’s going to add €500 to the retail price if it puts the car out of reach of its typical customers.

Innovation is what Citroën is all about. The DS famously pushed the boundaries and so did the Traction Avant – one of the first cars with a monocoque chassis. It made it 200-300kg lighter than the competition. That’s true innovation.

Citroën can do luxury cars with top class android car stereo still – it’s just a different expression. It can be relaxing, like yachting. That’s the French meaning of luxury – it’ll be very different from the German premium way of doing it.Depending on the project we’re working on, we occasionally ask the Citroën heritage team to bring up one of the old models which come with car dvd player from our back catalogue. We can’t drive them, but they do spend time in our studio. There’s no greater inspiration.’

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