THERE'S a broad theory in the world of economics that you can judge how well a country's economy is doing by the state of the motor industry.
If that's the case, 2010 should be a great year for South Africa.
Locally new car sales are up by 23 percent on the corresponding period last year and launches are taking place quicker than another Julius Malema story hitting the press.
Now, French manufacturer Citroen may be a small fish in a big pond in the local context of motor sales, but following their amalgamation with Peugeot recently, they have big plans for this year.
By the end of this month they will have launched six new-look vehicles to their stable, and if the new-generation C3 is anything to go by, we are in for exciting times.
Unveiled last week, the C3 will initially be available in four derivatives - 3 versions of a 1.4-litre and a 1.6-litre - while a diesel should be available later in the year.
Aimed at those in the 22 to 35 age group, the car definitely has a touch of retro written in to its DNA.
A new feature on some of the models is the Zenith windscreen. Creating greater visibility and letting in more light, the extended windscreen (1350mm) reaches back to about the backrest of the front passenger seat.
"The window gradually increases in tint as it goes above the driver until it eventually cuts out 90percent of the UV rays," explained Citroen managing director Frederic Chapuis at the launch.
Mind you, if you still feel the top of your head starting to cook you can simply pull the roof cover into place and the interior is transformed back into a regular sedan with a normal-sized windscreen.
The interior is surprisingly spacious and even sitting in the back there was plenty of leg room and the seats reasonably comfortable.
For me the frontal design of the new-generation C3 is streets ahead of itspredecessor.
The deep grille and sexy swept-back headlights fuse into the vehicle with invisible lines, while the new-look Citroen logo is simple yet classy.
The rear, though, less so. Somehow those sexy lines don't seem to carry all the way through and when viewing it from behind it's a bitbox-like.