Wednesday, 12 February 2014

How Citroen came up with the C4 Cactus

THE Parisian schoolboy put down his Crayola and hit the pause button on his Magic Roundabout DVD.

“Daddy”, he shouted excitedly in French which I’ve had to translate into Layman’s English. “I’ve managed to sort out that new hatchback you’ve been struggling with.”

The young designer’s dad, the boss of one of the biggest car companies in the whole of France, was astounded.

“That’s impossible”, he explained with an anguished tone of surprise in his voice. “My team have been working for months on this car, because it’s absolutely crucial that we come up with a rival for the Nissan Juke. You’re only seven years old. How have you managed to design it in twenty minutes?

"More to the point, what exactly are those things on the side supposed to be?”

The French firm’s brilliant new design guru paused reflectively and considered putting The Magic Roundabout back on again, but then he remembered how important this bit of extra homework was. This wasn’t just any old car doodle. This had to take on not just the Nissan Juke, but all the other jacked-up, supermini-sized hatchbacks that had already been launched to take it on.

“This is a lot more sensible than all the other cars I design when I’m at school – it’s only got four wheels, and there aren’t any machine guns or rockets on it. It’s just a normal car, like the one you and Mummy take me to school in.”

The boy’s father repeated the question. “But what is that thing on the side of it?”

“Oh sorry, dad, I forgot about that,” the youngster said. “I dropped a Dairy Milk on the paper and it melted, and now it’s stuck there.”

Dad was impressed. “Brilliant! I love it. It’s so avantgarde – no one but Citroen would think to launch a hatchback with a giant chocolate stuck to the side of it. Love the wheels too. I’ll get it signed off for production tomorrow.

“The only problem”, he explained to his pre-pubescent protégé, “is I’ve no idea what to call it. People love the Juke because it not only looks like it’s got landed from another planet, but it’s got a mad name too. So has the Vauxhall Mokka, and so has the Renault Captur”.

Citroen’s new chief designer smiled and instantly turned to his dad with a suggestion for this new, taller version of the company’s C4 hatchback, which goes on sale across the UK later this year.

“Let’s call it the Cactus, daddy”.

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