Citroen plans to light up this new year with new products and digital retail

The French carmaker looks to invest heavily in India

1y ago

No matter what, every new year brings with it this one thing - opportunities. A chance for a fresh start. A chance to complete something which was left unfinished earlier. A chance to try something new. For Indians, this new year brings us another carmaker.

European auto major Groupe PSA looks set to enter the Indian market by next year. The auto giant has confirmed to commence business under the Citroen brand in the subcontinent. If recent reports are to be believed, the brand will be looking to get the ball rolling by making its presence felt across the top ten major cities in India.

The company’s first offering in India will be its flagship SUV - the C5 Aircross SUV. Naturally, the target market for the French automaker doesn’t include the lower incomes of society at the moment. And that implies, the brand will be looking to target India’s metropolitan or Tier I cities. Although the brand hasn’t disclosed any information on this yet, I suspect the list of cities to include the likes of Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chandigarh.

If you felt there was too much tech in modern cars, wait till you see a Citroen showroom in India. "Since we are setting up a new network, we are proposing a different business model to our dealers, wherein we will have relatively smaller showrooms but digitalised," Citroen India Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing Roland Bouchara told PTI. “Prospective buyers will be able to research and chose model variants, transact for finance and insurance digitally,” he further added.

Citroen has prepped up yet another digital instrument called ATAWADAC - Any Time, Any Where, Any Device, Any Content. According to Bouchara, "It will allow the customer to seamlessly research products, select variants, and configure options and transact for service contracts, finance and insurance". While this software was developed specifically for the Indian market, the brand now plans to roll it out globally as well.

The C5 Aircross will be brought to India via the CKD route. Being well aware that importing other products might not be financially feasible for the company in this price-sensitive market, the brand has decided to develop a new platform altogether. With an estimated production capacity of 100,000 units a year at its Thiruvallur plant, the brand aims to launch at least one new India-specific model annually, via this platform.

But don’t expect any of these new models to be revealed before 2021. Until then, the brand will look to extend and solidify its leasing and financial arms in the country, thereby making it easier for the Indian consumer to go about buying its products.

Citroen plans to launch its C5 Aircross by the second half of 2020. The global model of this flagship SUV comes with a host of features including two-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, parking sensors at the front and the rear, and hands-free parking. A choice between two petrol mills and a diesel engine is expected to feature in the brochure. Introductory prices are said to point north of INR 15 lakhs with the competition comprising of the Jeep Compass, Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson.

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