The forthcoming Citroën C5 marks the completion of a range that the French maufacturer hopes will offer a credible alternative to established fleet marques.
Citroën believes that C5 is a key fleet vehicle, with business sales expected to make up 70% of all vehicles sold when it is launched in April.
With Citroën’s share of the fleet market increasing over recent years, mainly thanks to the C4 Picasso MPV, the company’s head of corporate sales, Ian Hughes, said the C5 would carry on that impetus.
“We’re going to give society a bit of a jolt to try and stop people in their tracks, to suggest that there is an alternative vehicle to consider that has all the attributes of the cars they are used to buying, but with a flair and punch that’s really rather audacious,” he said.
“We’ve built our reputation and credibility in the marketplace on the back of the C4 Picasso. But the C5 is tailored towards the user chooser and fleet market.
“This is massive for us, the equivalent of the Xantia, which in its heyday sold 40,000 units. We’re not expecting to sell anywhere near that – we have a reputation of coming in to this market and doing well, but the game has changed.
“The arrival of the German marques has been very significant and we’re going to go toe-to-toe with those guys.
“This is a very credible vehicle and with this, the C-Crosser SUV and C4 Picasso, we have a strong complement of vehicles in the £18-£20,000 bracket.”
Citroën has moved away from its historical sales techniques of cashbacks, which Mr Hughes said were misunderstood.
“We’re putting more focus on residual values,” he explained. “All the communication now talks about ‘prices from’ and consumer offers, finance offers. No cashbacks have been placed on any vehicle since I arrived.
“We have worked tirelessly with the residual value guides and developed a level of belief and trust that we have followed through on.
"Residuals have been a real key step change and something that we have worked very hard on.
In 2007 Citroën saw its fleet market share rise by 10% in cars and 5% in vans.
“Other manufacturers have suggested that this sector is all about quality and no style. We passionately disagree.
"Style is part of our history and we think you can combine style and high quality in the same packaging.”