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Citroen to cut back on its UK car sales

Citroen will cut back on the number of upper-medium cars it sells in Britain next year in a bid to boost the value of its used models.

A move to reduce registrations of C5 saloons and estates to fleet and business customers by 20% will lift the residual values of the cars by £500, believes Citroen UK managing director Alain Favey.

“Instead of selling 10,000 units, we will aim for 8,000 and resist the temptation to go for big volumes in future. The plan is to contain our volumes and end up with improved values,” says Favey as the revised C5 line-up is being launched in France.

A total of 460,000 examples of the original C5 model have been sold across Europe since launch in 2001, but output at the company’s factory in Brittany is not expected to exceed 120,000 units next year.

Favey has also revealed he has limited UK sales expectations for Citroen’s innovative Stop Start technology, which acts as a fuel-saving and environmentally- friendly feature on the C3 supermini. Due for release in November but unlikely to reach UK showrooms until early next year , the equipment boosts urban fuel economy and cuts exhaust emissions of the C3 by up to 17%.

Offered as a no-cost option on the standard 1.4-litre auto petrol version, the environmentally-friendly gadgetry is in line with the PSA Group’s mantra of offering vehicles with ‘affordable’ technology.

But the move represents a step into the unknown for Citroen UK, claims Favey.

“No-one has ever done anything quite like this before, so I’ll be delighted if we manage to sell only 2,000 units next year. That figure would be sufficient for me to regard it a commercial success,” he says.

However, Favey fears it could create problems for dealers by being launched at the same time as the revised C5 and all-new C4 model ranges. “We need to make sure we don’t confuse consumers with too many messages over the next few weeks. But the positive benefits of this system make it worth the effort,” he adds.

Featuring boomerang-shaped lamp clusters, the new C5 gains more balanced looks, sharper styling and higher-grade trim. Optional equipment includes swivelling headlamps and a unique lane departure warning system that vibrates the driver’s seat when the car begins to stray from its correct course on motorways and major roads. On sale from October 4, C5 will cost from £14,800 to £22,300.

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