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Watch this rally car come within inches of killing four spectators

07/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Videos, Hatchbacks, Citroen, Off-Road, Racing

Polish Rally Crash

Rallying isn't just dangerous for drivers, it's far and away one of the most dangerous forms of motorsport for spectators. Because of a lack of runoff areas and barriers, an out-of-control rally car is a huge danger for the fans that line the track. That's a lesson these extremely lucky Polish rally enthusiasts had to learn firsthand.

The incident happened during the Kaszuby Rally in Poland, when a Citroën C2 racer attempted to round a corner going way too fast. The driver lost control, and slid sideways into what looks like a giant stack of bricks on the side of the road. Several rally fans were ejected from the top of the pile when the car made a hard impact, although only one fan and the driver had hospital visits, and for minor injuries, at that.

Take a look below for the pair of videos. The first shows the crash at speed, while the second one is a higher-definition, slow-motion video which also covers the aftermath.

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Citroen names new CEO in executive shuffle

05/07/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hirings/Firings, Citroen

Linda JacksonPeugeot SA (otherwise known as PSA Peugeot Citroën) has been shaking things up in the top echelon of its executive ranks. It recently hired former Renault COO Carlos Tavares as its group chief executive and former Airbus chief Louis Gallois as chairman. Now it's announced two more top executive appointments.

First up is Linda Jackson, who steps into the role as CEO of the Citroën brand. Jackson had until now been managing director of Citroën in the UK and Ireland, a job she's held since 2010, and comes with over 35 years of experience in the industry. She replaces Fréderic Banzet who is taking up a new role in the Peugeot family's holding company FFP that controls, among other assets, 19 percent of PSA.

While Jackson will now be responsible for the Citroën brand itself, operation of the DS sub-brand is being handed to Yves Bonnefont, who is being promoted from his current position as group strategy director and deputy Citroën brand chief.

Both will take office on June 1, joining PSA's executive committee and reporting directly to Tavares.

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2015 Fiat Ducato and French siblings get prettier face, finer features

04/26/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Euro, Commercial Trucks, Peugeot, Citroen, FIAT, Ram

Rendering of the 2015 Fiat Ducato, front three-quarter view

The Ram ProMaster only introduced itself to US buyers - prognathous jaw first - last year, but it might quickly be the recipient of some plastic surgery. Above is the new face of the 2015 Fiat Ducato, which does duty as our ProMaster, the Citroën Jumper and the Peugeot Boxer and will be officially unveiled on May 12. Its face still slopes forward all the way to the bottom, but the distance and weight of the jutting chin has been greatly reduced by curving lines that more artfully integrate the new three-piece bumper with the sheetmetal. That bumper can be had in two colors, and the front end also gets new, sleeker headlights with LED DRLs.

Trims are named Classic, Tecno and Lounge, and all benefit from ESP, a new underride guard and an upgraded cockpit with touches like better seats, Bluetooth and a clipboard that can be affixed to the dash and is robust enough to hold smartphones and tablets. High-zoot options - which would give the ProMaster better fight against the Mercedes Sprinter if they carry over to our market - include lane departure assist.

The Ducato will come with choices of three roof heights, four lengths and eight capacity ratings. You'll find info on that and much more in the press releases from Fiat and Peugeot below, and we'll find out more about how the ProMaster will benefit in a few weeks.

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Citroen CX-R concept makes late debut from China

04/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, China, Crossovers/CUVs, Citroen, Beijing Motor Show

Citroen C-XR Concept

We obsessively covered the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, but apparently Citroën decided it had one more vehicle to debut to join its DS 6WR and DS 5LS R at the Chinese show. This C-XR Concept is far less wildly styled than the two other models, however, as this concept is actually quite close to production spec.

The C-XR blends the styling of Citroën's hatchbacks with some SUV cues. Up front, it has a wide, chrome grille that links directly into the headlights, and lower down, there are vertically mounted LED running lights. The rear pillar has C-shaped chrome accents to link the chrome roof rails and belt line.

The concept isn't really meant to go off-road, but it gets a dash of ruggedness from its protective wheel arch cladding and raised ground clearance. The interior is still a secret, but the top does have a large panoramic sunroof to let light in. The concept's powertrain uses the company's THP 160 petrol engine with stop/start and an automatic gearbox. Scroll down to read the full release about the concept.

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Chris Harris explains why the world's best car is... the Citroen 2CV?

04/19/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Sedans/Saloons, Videos, Citroen

Screencap of Drive Channel's Chris Harris driving his favorite car, a Citroen 2CV

Most recently we've seen Chris Harris in the driver's seat of a Jaguar F-Type, a McLaren P1 prototype and a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. And outside the car, there was his indignation over the demonization of the Porsche Carrera GT after Paul Walker's death. So you might not expect him to say of a 1957 Citroën 2CV with all of 12 horsepower, "it's the antidote to all the modern stuff I drive."

That's only the beginning of the hosannas, Harris going on to call the runabout designed to carry two farmers and 50 kilograms of potatoes at 39 miles per hour "the most interesting car I have or ever will own." We could tell you why, but it sounds so much more distinguished when he does it. So you can watch him do so in the video below. Unsurprisingly, not a single drift was given that day.

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DS 6WR channels Citroen Wild Rubis into Beijing

04/16/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: China, Crossovers/CUVs, Citroen, Beijing Motor Show, Luxury

Citroën has unveiled preliminary images and information about "the first ever SUV for the brand," the DS 6WR, before the model's official debut at the upcoming Beijing Motor Show. Said to be directly inspired by the Wild Rubis concept that bowed in Shanghai last year, the new addition to the DS family breaks new ground for the French brand, while not exactly living up to the SUV tradition.

The DS 6WR will slot in at the top of the brand's luxury-oriented DS range (where it will also be built), offering space and versatility along with added size for Chinese customers. Citroën is as-yet unclear if the model will make it to Europe, or elsewhere in the world.

The French automaker will initially offer the utility vehicle with a choice of two engine options, an e-THP 160 and THP 200 - those numbers seem to reference output in metric horsepower, meaning roughly 158 hp and 197 hp, respectively. Each mill offers both direct injection and a twin-scroll turbo, and both mate up to a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Despite a proliferation of SUV references in the short press release below, the DS 6WR's lack of all-wheel drive, even as an option, along with it's car-like styling and ride height have us calling this one firmly in crossover territory. The front-drive vehicle comes equipped with Citroën's "Grip Control" traction control system, in place of turning wheels at all corners.

You'll find just a few initial images of the wild DS 6WR in the gallery, and can look forward to more as we bring you live coverage from Beijing, later this month.

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Visit this secret Citroen stash outside Paris with XCar

04/16/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Videos, Citroen

Citroen cars on three wheels

With models like the 2CV, DS and SM, Citroën established itself as a home for quirky styling and out-of-the-box engineering, and in many minds the brand defines the look of the classic French car. In a recent video, XCar ventures inside Citroën's secret warehouse outside of Paris where the brand keeps many of its rarest and most significant cars.

The collection includes the oldest DS in the world, which was never put on sale, and four incredibly rare, pre-World War II 2CVs. According to Denis Huille of Citroën Heritage, about 60 percent of the cars are in drivable condition.

Citroën is now starting to go through a stylistic reawakening. Concepts like the DS 5LS R, Wild Rubis and Numero 9 show off a brand that has a definite idea of how a car wearing its badge should look. Scroll down to take a tour through the company's history.

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Citroen heading to Beijing with DS 5LS R concept [w/video]

04/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, China, Citroen, Beijing Motor Show, Luxury

Citroen DS 5LS R Concept

With the renaissance of the DS line, Citroën was clearly going for style and elegance. But in the years since it has also imbued some of its premium DS models with an added dose of performance. It used the DS3 as the basis for its World Rally Championship challenger, then rolled out the DS3 Racing hot hatch and the DS3 Cabrio Racing version, and applied a similar treatment to the DS4 Racing concept. Now it's doing the same to the Chinese-market DS 5LS luxury sedan.

Set to debut later this month at the Beijing Motor Show, the somewhat awkwardly named DS 5LS R may sound more like a new camera model but is actually a performance sedan concept. In its transformation, Citroën gave it a 1.6-liter turbo four with 300 horsepower on tap, lowered the suspension by 15 millimeters (0.6 inches), widened the track, upgraded the brakes, fitted 20-inch wheels and gave it looks to match.

The bodywork has been doused in a matte metallic shade of reddish magenta and accented with carbon-fiber trim, while the interior has been upgraded with leather and Alcantara trim, top-stitched in the same red as the exterior and similarly accented with carbon trim. Of course R logos feature prominently throughout. No matter what we think of it, though, a concept car based on a model made by a French automaker for the Chinese market stands absolutely no chance of ever seeing the inside of an American showroom or an inch of the Great American Road, so the closest we're ever likely to get is the high-res image gallery above and the video and press release below.

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European car sales up 8% in February

03/22/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Euro, BMW, Ford, GM, Mercedes Benz, Toyota, Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot, Citroen, UK

Car Dealers Prepare For New Registrations

Three weeks ago an analyst increased projections for European car sales this year, expecting them to climb three percent compared to last year instead of 2.7 percent. That number is a postive sign after years of hard times but it turns out February was especially good, overall European sales climbing eight percent on a wave of southern European recovery and discounts - and this comes after five months of gains including January's 7.2-percent jump over the year before.

The only country of Europe's five largest markets to post a decline was France, just as it did in January, Germany, the UK and Italy posting solid double-digit numbers, Spain rocking the charts with an 18-percent increase because of a government program to encourage trade-ins.

The only brand to miss the wave was Volkswagen, dropping 0.8 percent as it watched the double-digit growth at sister brands Audi, Seat and Skoda lift the Volkswagen Group sales up by seven-percent. Peugeot overcame flat sales at Citroën to improve the group by 3.5 percent, BMW and the Mercedes-Benz/Smart combo rose by four percent, the Fiat group jumped 5.8 percent, Ford was up 11 percent, the Renault Group 11.5 percent, General Motors 12 percent and the Toyota clan by 14 percent.

But every silver lining has a dark cloud, in this case it's the level of discounting that's pumping up sales. One analyst compared the current situation in Europe to the profit-killing discounting carried on by GM and Chrysler before bankruptcy, another - less dire - cautioning patience instead of touting recovery. Even so, said another analyst, "Demand has been depressed for so long that it can only go up."

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PSA Peugeot Citroen names former Airbus chief Louis Gallois as chairman

03/21/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hirings/Firings, Peugeot, Citroen

Louis Gallois

Change is afoot at PSA. The parent company of both Peugeot and Citroën is on the verge of securing major funding from both the French government and from Chinese automaker Dongfeng, it recently named former Renault COO Carlos Tavares as its chief executive officer, and now it has selected its new chairman.

The latter role, once approved by the shareholders, will belong to one Louis Gallois who, as the longtime CEO of aerospace consortium Airbus, is no stranger to the transportation industry. He will, however, be the first to chair the PSA board from outside the Peugeot family, which has been pressured to relinquish control by France's current Socialist government, with which Gallois maintains strong ties.

Gallois won't, of course, be the first executive to move from a major aerospace concern to head up a major automaker. Alan Mullaly made a similar transition when he moved from Boeing to Ford. (Red Poling, Bob Lutz and JRD Tata, to name just a few, all had aviation backgrounds before getting into the automotive industry as well.) Whether Gallois can succeed in turning PSA around in the same manner that Mullaly did remains to be seen.

The French automaker is ranked as the eighth largest in the world (behind Toyota, GM, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Ford, Nissan and Honda) but one of the largest in Europe, ahead of Renault, Daimler and Fiat.

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