From Paris with love: a comment on French car design

Citroen Oli concept charging

Christopher Butt takes a look at the return of robustness in French car design, as illustrated by two new concept cars in the Dacia Manifesto and Citroën Oli

Heads of state are not your regular brand testimonials, and yet two car makers recently received prominent support from none other than French President, Emmanuel Macron, as he helped set the stage for Dacia and Citroën’s then-upcoming concept cars in August 2022.

Rather than praising his domestic automotive industry for its strength, prowess and success as one might expect under less exceptional circumstances, Macron’s endorsement came in the form of a warning of ‘the end of abundance’. Two months later, the French President’s stark words turned out to be far more effective an appraisal of the Citroën Oli and Dacia Manifesto concept cars than the usual flattery could ever be – since these two motor cars were not designed to distract from today’s worries, but addressing and even embracing them head-on, in both engineering and visual terms.

Living up to its name, the Dacia Manifesto embodies the budget-conscious brand’s ethos of rugged simplicity not in apologetic a manner, but with gusto and conviction.

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