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Mike Stevens | Aug 16, 2010

Australian importer for Citroen and Alfa Romeo, Ateco, is running a knife through its pricing this year. Buyers can thank a persistently strong Aussie dollar for the downward pressure on prices across a number of imported brands.

Changes to the Alfa line-up in July saw the MiTo hatch drop below $30,000. Even the new range-topping MiTo Quadrifoglio can be had for nearly $3000 less than the previous top-shelf model, the MiTo Sport.

Citroen's C5 sedan and Tourer have also come in for a pricing makeover, both models now available for $3000 below their previous listed prices.

From this week, the exquisitely styled C5 sedan is priced from $46,990 drive-away, while the C5 Tourer starts at $49,990 drive-away.

The C5's new pricing follows the launch earlier this year of two new Euro V-compliant diesel engines, a 120kW/340Nm 2.0 litre turbodiesel and a 177kW/450Nm 3.0 litre turbodiesel.

Citroen says the new 2.0 litre diesel is similar in physical size to the engine it replaces, but features a new cylinder head, new pistons and combustion chamber designed specifically to work with the 200 bar high-pressure injection system.

Like the smaller diesel, the 3.0 litre engine benefits from larger turbochargers, along with an all-new injection system.

Last week, the Citroen C4 Picasso people-mover had more than $6000 cut from its price tag, dropping from $45,990 (plus on-road costs) to $39,990, drive-away.

With only 17 units sold so far this year, the new drive-away price sees the C4 Picasso positioned against the Honda Odyssey ($41,990+ORC, 154 sales YTD), the Dodge Journey ($36,990+ORC, 122 sales YTD) and the segment-leading Hyundai iMax ($36,990+ORC, 290 sales YTD).

The 2010 Citroen C4 Picasso is powered by a Euro V-compliant 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, producing 100kW at 4000rpm and 270Nm of torque at 2000rpm. Fuel consumption is listed at 5.0 l/100km on the combined cycle.

The strong AUD responsible for pushing import prices down is not such welcome news for our local car manufacturers. Cheaper imprts makes it harder for them to compete in the home market. Unfortunately, they are caught in a dual bind as it also makes things tougher for their export programs - a high dollar makes the cars we sell offshore more expensive.

Holden and Toyota in particular will be praying for a softening of the dollar. Unfortunately for them, with strong sales from the resources sector, and a recovering rural economy bringing an expected boom in global wheat sales this year, that prospect is unlikely.

In the meantime, you can jump into a Citroen for a lot less this year than you did last year.

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