Citroen’s first vehicle for India is expected to be launched towards the end of 2021 and it could feature high levels of localisation
Ever since Groupe PSA announced its intentions to enter the Indian market, speculations over which brand it would choose had been running wild as it comprises of locally familiar Peugeot and Opel along with Citroen, DS and Vauxhall. With the brand openly testing the DS7 Crossback many suggested that the standalone DS premium brand was given the green signal.
However, squashing the rumours, the automotive conglomerate has confirmed that Citroen will head the company’s domestic charge. Since the takeover of Opel and Vauxhall in August 2017 and becoming second largest European car brand after VW, Groupe PSA has been on a roll with its aggressive strategies to expand into emerging markets like India.
India is at the core of the brand’s ‘Smart Car’ strategy and PSA even bought the Ambassador nameplate for Rs. 80 crore from Hindustan Motors earlier. At a conference revealing FY2018 financial results, Carlos Tavares, Chairman of the Managing Board, has announced the second phase of Groupe PSA’s strategic plan ‘Push to Pass’ for the 2019-2021 period. He stated the group’s willingness to conquer new markets and that the Citroën brand is chosen to enter India.
Citroen has a storied past as much as its French compatriot Renault and it has a rich rallying history as well. The company has been there for nearly a century now and is headquartered at Saint-Ouen in France. Underlining Citroen’s popularity, over one million units were retailed across more than 90 countries last year and the brand has tasted five years of consecutive growth in Europe.
It all stems back to the January 2017 when Groupe PSA and CK Birla Group signed two JVs for production of vehicles and powertrains in Tamil Nadu with initial investment of more than 100 million Euros. Towards the end of last year, Powertrain JV greenfield facility at Hosur was inaugurated with capacity of three lakh transmissions and two lakh BSVI compliant engines. It was the first major milestone into PSA’s path of debuting in India. More details regarding Citroen’s market entry will be revealed later.
The first Citroen vehicle is expected to be launched before the closure of 2021 as high localisation levels are targetted. Peugeot’s 208, 2008 and 3008 have already been spotted testing in India over the years hinting that a multiple brand strategy could be waiting in the horizon, and the DS7 Crossback could have been used as a preliminary testbed for launching Citroen’s popular C5 Aircross as both are based on the same EMP2 platform.
The French brand’s wide range of models across volume segments will be highly beneficial for a sustained presence in India in the near future. Rest assured, it is always good to see rapid progression of the domestic market with new brands coming in seemingly every year!