There's something fishy going on here...
Look beyond the cutesy paintwork for a moment and you’ll see Citroen’s new Nemo Concetto, a van-derived people carrier concept that’s based on the recently launched Nemo commercial van. The idea behind the Nemo – a three-way development with Fiat and Peugeot – is to tap into the massive European market for van-based family cars. So as well as being sold as a commercial vehicle, it would sit below the Berlingo Multispace in Citroen’s passenger car line-up.
The market in the UK, however, is nowhere near as large as the Continent’s. In the UK it peaks at around 20,000 units, which is why Citroen UK is still undecided about bringing in a Multispace version of the Nemo. But the success of the Berlingo Multispace – the country’s first van-based people carrier and easily the leading seller in the sector ahead of the Fiat Doblo, Peugeot Partner and Renault Kangoo – means a green light is more than likely. Interestingly, Citroen sells more Berlingo Multispace models than Berlingo vans – another profit-oriented reason why the Nemo Multispace will probably get the go-ahead.
So what do I need to know?
It should arrive in the UK in May 2008, and with its big plastic bumpers, compact 3.86m length and spacious passenger cabin, the Nemo is aimed primarily at urban families. It's powered by Citroen’s familiar 70bhp 1.4-litre HDI turbo diesel unit with a five-speed manual gearbox - the small market means petrol and automatic versions are unlikely - so performance will be exceptionally relaxed, but with good 64mpg combined economy and a congestion-charge friendly 115g/km CO2 rating.
Expect the familiar Forte and Desire derivatives with prices starting just below £10,000.