C5, an upper medium sector saloon that will also target the executive market, marks the start of Citroen's new naming policy. Future models will be identified by the letter C and a figure identifying its position in the range.
Next in line is the C3 hatchback, planned for 2003, and the larger C6, showcased in concept form at last year's London motor show. The Xantia will continue “as long as people are buying it”, said a Citroen spokesman. XM was discounted in June.
The C5 has a new floor plan giving it more internal space. PSA intends to consolidate all Peugeot and Citroen models onto three or four new platforms.
The spokesman believed the C5 would be a “strong” fleet car, accounting for around 70-80% of UK sales.
“But it will be a retail proposition as well – it's an alternative choice to mass market models like Mondeo and Vectra,” he said.
The C5 will be delivered to the UK with 3-litre V6 and 2.2-litre HDi engines. The diesel engine's low CO2 emissions, described as “virtually unmeasurable”, should attract fleets.
The V6 engine has a gearbox designed by Porsche, thought to be Citroen's first collaboration with a carmaker outside the PSA group.
Other engines will be developed, including a 2-litre unit, and an estate version, which might be shown at next year's Geneva show. “We need a full range of engines and body styles to attract fleet buyers,” said the spokesman.
Prices will be announced nearer the launch date, but will be “consistent with our value for money policy”. Citroen also revealed the new-look Xsara at the show, which has been given the “family look” with new exterior styling. The Xsara also has two new engines – a 1.6i 16V and 2.0i 16V – and comes with additional equipment, including ABS, four airbags and two curtain airbags.