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PSA Peugeot Citroen will cut nearly half the models from its portfolio by 2020, new boss Carlos Tavares has revealed.

The alliance currently builds some 45 separate models, but Tavares - who joined PSA from Renault in January - says this will be reduced to just 26 across the two brands within the next six years.

Actually, three brands. Tavares confirmed that Citroen’s posh ‘DS’ line would be developed as a ‘full-fledged’ premium marque, one that will manufacture six models by 2022. “It’s not going to be a big-bang story,” said Tavares of developing DS. “A premium brand is a matter of decades.”

It’s all part of Tavares’ plan - dubbed ‘Back In The Race’ - to restore profitability to the beleaguered carmaker, which has lost over six billion pounds over the last 30 months.

In February, Chinese company Dongfeng took a 14 per cent stake in Peugeot, with the French brands hoping to prop up slow European sales by expanding into China, Russia and Latin America.

Currently 38 per cent of Peugeot’s sales comes from outside Europe, a proportion the company plans to increase to 50 per cent by 2015. The Volkswagen group sells more than two of every three cars it builds outside Europe.

Cutting the Peugeot-Citroen’s line-up is rather the opposite of the strategy pursued by the behemoth Volkswagen empire, which is furiously diversifying the offerings of all its major brands: Audi announced late last year it would increase its line-up from 49 to 60 models by 2020.

Insiders tell Top Gear that much of the culling will come from region-specific offering, with Peugeot-Citroen focusing on ‘global cars’ instead. It’s also thought Tavares will aim to differentiate Peugeot and Citroen further, to prevent the two brands treading on each other’s toes.

So, here’s the question: if Peugeot and Citroen are slash’n’burning their line-ups, what do you want them to hang on to? And, more importantly, what should they add? A production version of Mr Loeb’s 208 T16 would be an excellent start, Mr Tavares…

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