Citroen to introduce one new car every year from 2020; to launch C5 Aircross mid-size premium SUV before the end of next year
Back in January 2017, Groupe PSA and CK Birla Group agreed upon two joint ventures for manufacturing vehicles and powertrains in Tamil Nadu. The initial investment stood at more than 100 million Euros and in late 2018, the Powertrain JV greenfield facility at Hosur was inaugurated with a capacity to produce three lakh gearboxes and two lakh BSVI engines.
Ever since the buyout of Vauxhall and Opel from General Motors in August 2017, Groupe PSA has accelerated its plans of global expansion with India being at the core of its future strategies. Towards the end of February 2019, the second largest European carmaker by sales volume confirmed that Citroen had been chosen for the domestic assault ending the speculations of DS entering India via DS7 Crossback as it was spied a number of times.
Groupe PSA has a variety of brands under its governance such as Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall. Citroen has been hand-picked of the lot due to quite a few reasons. The Frech brand, with 100 years of storied history, has a wide portfolio of cars catering to premium as well as mass market segments and its sales growth in Europe has been consistent over the last half a decade.
Citroen registered more than 10 lakh unit sales in 2018 and is present across 90 countries. To expand its footprint further and thereby sales, Groupe PSA is targetting developing markets like India with Citroen. The first product will hit the market before the end of 2020 and is unsurprisingly a premium SUV with high levels of local content of up to 95 per cent.
The C5 Aircross, also called as the C84, will likely compete against the likes of Tata Harrier, Jeep Compass, MG Hector, next-gen Hyundai Creta & upcoming Kia SP SUV. Citroen introduced the latest version of the Aircross nearly two years ago at the Auto Shanghai Show in China and is retailed there alongside Australia and many European markets. Boldy claimed to be the “most comfortable SUV”, Citroen has made a big deal of the C5 Aircross as its suspension comprises of Progressive Hydraulic Cushions.
It is based on the EMP2 platform as the DS7 Crossback and shares underpinnings with the Peugeot 3008. The midsize SUV measures 4,500 mm in length, 1,859 mm in width, 1,670 mm in height and it has a wheelbase of 2,730 mm (longer than Compass and Tucson). The 580-litre bootspace meant it is more trunk volume than Harrier, Compass and Tucson.
In overseas markets, the C5 Aircross comes with two petrol (1.2-litre PureTech turbocharged unit producing 129 hp and a 1.6-litre PureTech with 178 hp) and two diesel (1.5-litre turbo BlueHDi diesel making 129 hp and a bigger 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel with 178 hp) engine options and it can be had in either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 1.5-litre diesel can also be specced with a six-speed auto in some markets and Citroen does not offer 4WD variant of the C5 Aircross anywhere in the world. The 1.5-ton SUV is also the first Citroen to feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of running up to 60 km on electric mode.
Just as other Citroens in the global arena, the C5 Aircross has a funky styling philosophy with the signature front fascia having split headlamps, a dynamic grille section, rakish windshield, chunky wheels, horizontal LED tail lamps and rectangular dual exhaust pipes. The exterior will certainly make it the sportiest in its class.
The interior is packed with premium features focussing on comfort, entertainment and convenience. Some of the important bits are 12.3-inch TFT digital instrument cluster, eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and a large panoramic sliding roof. Citroen to kick off Dealer Partners Live Tour from July 1, 2019 onwards in cities like Gurgaon, Pune, Mumbai, Cochi and Chennai.