Linda Jackson is a rare leader: a British woman leading a major French company. After joining Citroën UK in 2005 as Finance Director, she became FD of Citroën France before taking on the role of Managing Director of Citroën UK and Ireland. Since 2014 she has been Chief Executive Officer of Citroën, the major global automotive player and brand. In 2018, Autocar named her as the most influential woman in the motor industry. Linda recently received an award from the Institute of the Motor Industry in recognition of outstanding leadership in the automotive sector.
Citroën is part of Groupe PSA, Europe’s second largest vehicle manufacturer.
The key to digital transformation and innovation
In your opinion, what are the key factors for a successful digital transformation in an organization like Citroën?
For me, there are 3 key success factors. The first is about challenging the rules. This has always been in Citroën’s DNA from the outset and I think it’s essential to be disruptive to emerge. The second factor is about being inspired by customers. It means being customer focused, thinking about their uses and habits. That’s what led us to launch a number of initiatives, from ‘Citroën Advisor’ to our connected app ‘My Citroën’. We believe that digital performance is measured first by the engagement of our customers. The final area is about being agile. This means being open to the world: reacting quickly and knowing how to take opportunities, especially by partnering with start-ups that have the expertise needed. While it is not always possible to be a leader in all fields, you can take a quick follower approach, bringing your own creativity and added value.
A vision for mobility
How will new technologies change the way people view mobility and what they expect from it?
Today, everyone has a smartphone, and the development of mobile apps with geolocation and e-payment are already changing the way people see mobility. This leads to new behaviors, particularly with carsharing and carpooling. In this changing world, we must go beyond our role of pure carmaker to also being a mobility provider. This is an integral part of Groupe PSA’s strategy. That is why the Group has created its own brand of mobility: Free2Move. It is in this context that customers can now use our electric Citroën C-ZERO in public car-sharing – in Paris, Madrid and Lisbon.
What are Citroën’s future mobility plans?
Tomorrow, with ever more connected cars, we will go further to make the customer journey easier and seamless. This is what we have put forward through the Ami One Concept. Our vision goes beyond the object and proposes instead a new approach to urban mobility: a fully connected offer that is accessible to all and available from 5 minutes to 5 years.
What is your roadmap for electric/autonomous cars?
In terms of electrification, our roadmap is clear: after 2020 every new Citroën model that we will launch will have an ‘electrified’ version, either a 100% electric version or a PHEV (plug-in hybrid version). So, in 2025, 100% of our range will be available in electrified versions.
Regarding the autonomous car, our Citroën C5 Aircross SUV already has autonomous level-2 driving devices such as “hands-off” or automated driving under driver supervision Moreover Groupe PSA, which is actively working on this subject, will allow us to go even further. This is what we illustrate through our 19_19 Concept presented on our booth at VivaTech, where autonomy and full electric technology are at the service of ultra-comfort.
What are the major innovations that Citroën is offering or plans to offer its customers?
Today, we continue to innovate at the service of our customers. We were the first car manufacturer to launch an online review website: Citroën Advisor. It is now available in 40 countries and allows our customers to rate their dealership, their car and now their salespeople! It is a proof of trust and transparency between the customers and our Brand but also a lever to improve our service quality.
“Inspired by you” is more than a brand signature, it reflects our desire to put our customers at the heart of all our actions, both in terms of products and services, to provide an ever more serene experience to our customers. An idea directly inspired from our founder, André Citroën, who imagine the first car after sales service just 100 years ago.
In terms of products, we also want to make the difference through comfort – a key organizational value and goal for Citroën. That is why we have launched the Citroën Advanced Comfort program – a vision of comfort for all. As well as postural comfort of course, it also embraces roominess, storage space, acoustics, brightness, and connectivity. This program gave birth to our new suspension with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions, which has 20 patents, and our Advanced Comfort seats. I believe that this modern approach to comfort for all passengers is a real asset for Citroën, especially with new automotive uses such as carpooling.
In the context of this special Vivatech report, can you tell us more about the relationship between Citroën and the start-up community?
In addition to our internal expertise, Citroën looks for the right partners to develop innovations when needed. There are many examples of this. With Boarding Ring and studio 5.5, we developed to develop our pioneering ‘SEETROËN’ anti-motion sickness glasses, an innovation that enhances traveling comfort. With Start-Rec, we created Citroën sound identity, and especially the Sound Experience on AMI ONE Concept. With the news agency RelaxNews, we launched The Citroënist editorializer, an unprecedented editorial web platform that gives media companies to the right information they need, from press releases to videos. With Mullenlowe, we developed the Digital Experience for the Ami One Concept, creating a seamless customer journey.
Moreover, to respond to the rapid development of new automotive uses, Groupe PSA has created the Business Lab. Its mission is to detect, test, and transform opportunities into marketable products and services for the Group. This relies on partnerships with start-up companies, such as TravelCar for the car-sharing solutions developed by Free2Move, Groupe PSA’s mobility brand.