At its FY2018 financial results presentation, the PSA Group made public its plans to re-enter India with its Citroen brand. Earlier today, Citroen held its first-ever press conference in India detailing its gameplan for our market. Aside from confirming that the C5 Aircross SUV will be its first model for India and will launch by September 2020, the French carmaker also stated it would launch a new model each year in India starting 2021. The aim is to have a full range and not just one car. The launches would be under what the carmaker calls its new ‘C Cubed Programme’.
In her presentation, Linda Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, Citroën Brand, Groupe PSA said C Cubed stands for ‘Cool, Comfort, Clever’. Expanding on the same, Jackson added “Cool to illustrate Citroen’s unique and bold design. Comfort to highlight making all Citroens easy to use, working on ergonomics and connectivity. Clever to be at the heart of the market. Developing international, highly localised cars to meet customer expectations.”
While Citroen did not share details of the future launches, it did state the new models will be launched in India before the rest of the world. PSA had earlier announced India, North America and Russia as the markets of focus to expand its reach outside Europe. Citroen has had its sixth consecutive year of growth in Europe and will apply the same 'recipe for success' in India. “In India, we will follow the same recipe for success. Local adaptations when needed – a modern and fresh approach with a unique design. Citroen Advanced Comfort (the programme that encompasses research into all aspect of comfort) and the right price positioning at the heart of the market,” added Jackson.
Local R&D and sourcing
Citroen has partnered with the CK Birla Group for manufacture (of powertrains), assembly and distribution and also with Tata Consultancy Services for engineering. The brand will be big on domestically sourced content in its cars and local R&D will also help keep prices competitive. Speaking on the same, Emmanuel Delay, Executive Vice President & Head of India-Pacific, Groupe PSA said, “We are conducting R&D and sourcing activities, and we are proud to be the first international automotive manufacturer to have fully delegated the development of a family of cars to a project team based in Chennai that works in close collaboration with our partner TCS. By doing so, we ensure our vehicles can be fully localised and are designed with the needs of Indian customers in mind.” And the models for India will have much in common with their international counterparts. “Any market entry involves a ramp-up period. We want to use exports of the same vehicles and powertrains to complement (domestic production). This will ensure healthy combined volume for production and optimised costs,” Delay added.
Citroen’s international line-up comprises hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs and MPVs. And it will be interesting to see how successfully the brand manages to read trends in the Indian market to develop its line-up.