Re: PSA´s large cars
This particular bit of writing has been on the wall since the car was launched in the UK. It is more of a pity that the C6 was so much less worthy of the brand´s forebears than that it failed to attract the custom of the toxically status-conscious British buyer. I think even if the C6 had been much better built and more useful the British market was never going to go for it. As it stood, with a high purchase price, a limited range of engines and spec and finally, (silk purse/sow´s ear time) 407 underpinnings, it was mutton dressed as lamb in the best PSA style.
Even as an XM owner (and therefore more friendly to the idea) the C6 is not so desirable since it seems less spacious and less useful. What I mean is, that if you´ve got used to the flexibility and spaciousness of the 5-door XM, the C6´s saloon architecture and stupid boot aperture will seem really annoying. And in comparison, I imagine it will be harder to run as a second hand car than the XM is/was. This is because C6 spare parts are more costly, the car is far more complex and finally, since initial sales were so low, the pool of spares will be tiny when Citroen decide to stop supporting the spare parts service*. My guess is that those who want to have a car as nice and useful as their XM will find something else other than the C6 to drive, accepting as a price the lack of oleopneumatic suspension on whatever else they find.
My studies of the 604 show that PSA failed to learn the lesson of that car´s relative failure and repeated all of the mistakes on the C6: it too had the underpinnings of a cheaper car, it was too pricey for the market, it had too few engine options, its USP was hard to explain to customers focused on measurable parameters, it did nothing exceptionally well and, finally, it wasn´t sufficiently well-made. In some ways the 604 and XM were much better attempts than the C6 was. Both of those earlier cars at least earned the plaudits of reviewers and had some excellent and appreciable talents. The C6 didn´t even manage this much. Most reviews of the C6 (and few they were) were quite lukewarm in comparison. Car magazine didn´t even send a staffer to test the C6. Their first road test was written by a freelancer. And to sum up their long term test, Tim Pollard just said something along the lines of "it´s nice but it´s French". He might as well have written "don´t buy this car, it will explode on your driveway."
If PSA are serious about selling a big car (and they´re not, are they?) they need to address some basic aspects of their industrial culture before they even bolt one panel to a new chassis. There´s no point in trying to sell a luxury saloon if it´s not at least as well made as an Audi A4. Kia are now making cars better than PSA (reports Car). If PSA can´t improve their assembly skills then they are almost certainly doomed in the next decade.
Personally I´ve come to terms with the fact that the days of nice big Citroens are over and come through my bereavement. There won´t be a comparable car to the CX or XM again. PSA have suffocated the demand by leaving the market unoccupied for so long. There is no pool of demand from previous customers who want to stay with the brand as happened when the DS was replaced by the CX and the XM in turn.
The other thing is that, with all due respect to the people of the UK, I`m tired of the incredible narrowness of their tastes in new cars. I don´t expect this to change and I also think it doesn´t really matter either. You can´t please this market with anything other than German-orientated cars so there´s no point in trying.
*PSA will probably not support UK-spec parts for more than five years from now. After that owners will cannibalise the tiny fleet of cars sold between 2005