Within 48 hours of Citroën unveiling their Oli Concept on September 29, 2022, Volkswagen showed as part of the Paris Chantilly Arts & Elegance competition, their electric and autonomous concept GEN.TRAVEL, that they says is an innovative vision of the future of long-distance mobility.
We can’t help but notice the similarity in design, especially the vertical windshield offset back in a manner almost identical to the Oli.
Granted the VW is rounded, not flat like the Oli and VW is touting the GEN.TRAVEL as long distance vehicle rather than the Oli’s urban haul nature, but oh that front end — how did the two get so close without somebody spilling the beans?
For one thing, it is almost assured that the original idea for the windshield design is Citroën’s. They built an actual Oli and have taken considerable time and effort to produce videos of the vehicle and extensive promotional photos. With VW we have 3 renderings.
Could the leak have come from Citroën’s affiliation with Germany’s BASF for the Oli’s interior seats? With access to the design plans of the Oli perhaps a BASF engineer got a little loose-tongued with a buddy at VW over a few beers one night and let it slip that Citroën were working on a radical design. Speculation of course, but the similarity and timing makes one wonder.
As for Citroën’s reaction, not since Renault showed their model 16 in 1965, upstaging Citroen’s introduction of their Ami 6 Break, would the brand feel as violated as they are probably feeling right now.