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Citroën becomes first car manufacturer to introduce British Sign Language across its retail operations

Citroën becomes first car manufacturer to introduce British Sign Language across its retail operations

Citroën has become the first automotive manufacturer in the UK to offer customers visiting its retail sites and aftersales departments the opportunity to communicate with the brand using British Sign Language (BSL).

With more than 11 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK, Citroën has partnered with signlive to offer its intuitive video relay service across its 190-strong sales and aftersales network. Signlive allows deaf and hard of hearing users to communicate using British Sign Language through a video feed linked to a live, fully qualified interpreter.

Citroën has also pledged to enhance accessibility for the deaf community, including BSL representation across its UK advertising, as part of the brand’s ‘The French Car that Speaks your Language’ initiative.

Eurig Druce, Managing Director of Citroën UK, said: “At Citroën we are inspired by our customers, and this philosophy is at the root of our 'The French Car that Speaks your Language' campaign. We understand the needs of our customers and work to exceed those expectations through our products and services. By partnering with signlive, we once again demonstrate how our customers inspire our thoughts and actions as we improve the way we serve deaf and hard of hearing people. The nationwide adoption of signlive across Citroën UK's retailers will transform the car buying process for thousands of motorists, ensuring that it's not only our products that deliver comfort and serenity for all – the customer experience does as well.

"British Sign Language is used by 150,000 people in the UK, and as a brand, we recognised the need to do more for our customers. We are very proud at Citroën, to be the first manufacturer to offer this new level of customer service and hope the rest of the industry follows in our footsteps. Each one of our retailers now uses signlive, making our network premises more accessible and inclusive than ever before."

Signlive is an online interpreting service that allows deaf and hard of hearing people to connect with others through a phone or tablet for support via a live interpreter. The service can be accessed easily through a web browser or a dedicated app service. There are two main functions of signlive: Video Relay Service (VRS) or Video Remote Interpreting (VRI).

Through VRS, users can press the ‘call’ button on the signlive app to connect with an interpreter who appears on screen to help relay conversations between the customer and Citroën. VRI works by using tablets inside retailer premises, which staff can use to call an interpreter who can then communicate with the customer, or leave them a BSL voicemail. With users typically waiting just 5-20 seconds to be connected to an interpreter, signlive allows deaf customers to communicate with a Citroën representative swiftly and efficiently – helping them to book servicing or find out more about the latest models and consumer offers.

To optimise access across Citroën UK's retailer network, all employees have received training to ensure they can operate signlive's services with ease.

Joel Kellhofer, CEO of signlive, said: “The process of purchasing a car has, up until now, been inaccessible for the deaf community, with retail experiences on the whole a regular challenge for deaf and hard of hearing people. It is great to see a leading retailer like Citroën make a positive change to provide British Sign Language users with access to interpreters for support on their car-buying journey, totally free of charge. We’re delighted to support Citroën and all of its dealerships throughout the UK in making this massive change.”

Amanda Casson-Webb, Joint CEO of the Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) said: "The Royal Association for Deaf people welcomes the news that Citroën UK has partnered with signlive to provide BSL access across its retail and aftersales networks. This is great news and a positive step in ensuring that the deaf community will have the same opportunity and car-buying experience as hearing people. We know from first-hand experience that the process of buying a new car can be challenging for many deaf people, and hope that other car manufacturers follow Citroën’s lead.

"Congratulations to Citroën for being the first manufacturer to consider and adopt better accessibility for deaf people!"

The ‘French Car that Speaks your Language’ is Citroën UK’s latest innovative campaign, highlighting that while it may be a French brand, it understands the wants and needs of customers in the UK. Citroën is keen to cut out the jargon and make the purchase experience as simple as possible for all customers. The Citroën brand has launched a number of new initiatives in the UK in recent months, including a Fair Pricing policy, a new online Citroën Store and a Virtual Showroom.

To find out more about the initiative or to contact your local retailer, please visit:

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