By Gilles Guillaume
PARIS (Reuters) – French car maker Citroen marked its comeback in the prestigious large sedan market on Monday with the launch of its flagship C5 X, hoping the model will help its European fortunes recover from the COVID-19 crisis and reverse declining sales in China.
Citroen, part of the Stellantis group created earlier this year from the merger of PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler, said on Monday it will manufacture the C5 X in the city of Chengdu in China.
The model marks the re-entry of Citroen into the large sedan segment, dominated by German carmakers, and Citroen hopes it will help end six years of declining sales in China, the world’s biggest car market.
The C5 X – the first new vehicle to be launched since Stellantis was formed in January – will go on sale in the second half of the year in China and European markets. It will be available in both petrol and plug-in hybrid versions.
Citroen CEO Vincent Cobee told Reuters Citroen expected to increase its proportion of sales from outside Europe to 30% of the total by 2025 from around 15% last year. He said the company was targeting annual sales of between 1.3 million and 1.5 million cars in five year’s time.
Citroen has posted drops in sales for six straight years. Last year it sold 717,190 vehicles, well below a target of 1.6 million set for 2021.
(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Writing by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and David Holmes)