ENGLISH VERSION : Citroën 19_19 : interview with his designer “exter”

Is it a car? A plane? A saucer? The Citroën 19_19 concept car is a dream car. This explosion frees itself from automotive codes to magnify the comfort, technology and boldness of a young century-old brand.

While Frédéric Duvernier managed the project because he is responsible for Citroën’s designers, it was the young Romain Gauvin (above) who won the design competition for this unique concept car, unveiled on 13 May 2019.

LIGNES/auto: Before discussing the theme and genesis of this important concept car in Citroën’s history, I will focus on one stylistic element among many others: what are these lateral growths used for, to accommodate aircraft wings ?!
Romain Gauvin : “Yes, we can imagine the birth of wings on these elements… We can dream ! »

Well, I guess Frederic Duvernier didn’t ask you to design a plane ? What was the initial brief ?
R.G.: “This concept car is the birthday cake, the one that celebrates the brand’s centenary. We had to look far ahead and we are planning for 2030. In terms of size, we had the same size as a C5 Aircross. 19_19 is about 4.65 m long. Obviously, the car is 100% electric, but clearly not a car in which to sleep. On the contrary, its transparency allows passengers to immerse themselves in the landscape! »

In front of the blank page for this drawing that will change your life a little bit, what’s going on ?
R.G. : “At the time of the first pencil strokes, it’s a bit of a storm in my head because, for me, Citroën, they’re just iconic cars! Take the SM, it’s a flying saucer on the road.”

No retro-design for this concept car though ?
R.G.: “There was no question of it, the company, even a hundred years old, is looking to the future!”

How do you like this theme of the rolling saucer ?
R.G.: “First of all, I draw an ellipse above the road, like a cottony cloud. For me, this is my image of Citroën comfort. The car seems to fly over the road in great comfort…. I create this kind of drop of water and I don’t go much further, I hold my theme. »

A saucer whose cockpit remains high up !
R.G. : “Customers like to sit high, or even far away for greater safety. But you can design a raised car without drawing an SUV !

You also refer to aerodynamics thanks to this concept…
R.G.: “We can indeed create lower flows. Then, it is necessary to attach the four wheels to this habitable cell. Between these two elements (capsule and wheels), I come to draw suspensions that are highlighted by a very technical drawing. »

A saucer carried by incredible wheels !
R.G.: “These wheels are undoubtedly a world record for a car, but as they are externalized, the work of connecting to the cell is no longer a work of car design, you have to look in other worlds. It’s quite advanced in design, because you also have to think about ground connections and geometries. “Romain Gauvin acknowledges that when it came to the problem of turning radius, the whole team had some cold sweats !
(*) see the post on the partnership with Goodyear

You have divided the cabin cell into two zones, one of which is covered with a film…
R.G. : “This delimitation, between total transparency and that filtered by the film, came from the habitat. If you have a terrace, you probably define it with a corner in the sun and another in the shade of a pergola! We imagined the same thing with 19_19. »

A capsule-shaped cell, gigantic wheels and then there are the technological details magnified !
R.G.: “I grouped all the scanners, GPS antennas and cameras in two islands positioned on the pavilion. I treated them in a very techno way. They also bring a well of light inside where they lead to two ambient lighting systems. For these drawings, I draw on the fields of robotics, it’s stimulating because we’re in a pivotal era where we leave the world of the traditional automobile to arrive in a technological era. We are at a crossroads, and the centenary is coming to the heart of this automotive transformation ! »

What if in front of that blank page last year, you had proposed a car, say… normal ?
R.G.: “If I had presented Frédéric Duvernier with a classic theme for the centenary car, he would probably have strangled me! Because we must not forget that André Citroën was exploring the future. The idea was and still is to use the most advanced technology to make it available to as many people as possible. »

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