Sunday, 4 May 2008

Citroën: moving out of the bargain basement?

In the ongoing saga of the hydraulic pipe I ventured bravely to the parts desk of my local Citroën dealer. I am told that owners of old BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes can order parts from the dealer as though they were ordering parts for current models. Of course you need to pay Mercedes-sized prices for that facility. Citroën offer no such assurance but I went armed with a part number and a mental picture of what it should look like. All credit to Murley Citroën of Leamington Spa, they found the part was available and have promised to order it. Maybe one day I’ll be able to drive my car without fearing the sudden loss of hydraulic fluid.

I also noticed that the showroom had a new C5 on display and I couldn’t resist going in for a closer look. It is an impressive looking car; it does have a German look and feel. The doors close with an impressive thunk and the interior is full of handy cubby holes with damped lids. I’m not sure how much praise I want to lavish on the C5 as I still feel betrayed by the absence of self-levelling, oleo-pneumatic suspension across the range (just as I was irritated by the elimination of the Citroën short-travel brake pedal on the old C5). Final judgement depends on actually driving a C5 or two.

Behind the C5 was a silver C6, looking as impressive as ever and unmistakably French. Next to the C6 was a C-Crosser, another model I’ve not had the chance to study at close quarters. It looked like another quality product, with nice plastics and high quality switches. Contrast this with Citroën’s recent efforts to sell cars based on low prices and generous discounts. Somehow the cars looked like bargain basement products, more like the stuff the Malaysians and Koreans used to make.

No comments: