Groupe PSA, earlier this year announced their gala plans of entering the Indian market. A year ago, the manufacturer confirmed that it has entered into a JV with the CK Birla group for manufacturing powertrains and setting up a facility here. Express Drives spoke with Citroen India's Roland Bouchara, senior vice president, sales & marketing on the future plans. Roland told us that the new C5 Aircross SUV will be launched in 2020 followed by the C-Cubed Program which consists of one new vehicle launch every year till 2023. The C-Cubed vehicles are being designed and developed in India and will be manufactured and launched here first.
On being asked about the introduction of electric vehicles, Roland said that globally, the company has a strategy that from 2020, all their new vehicles will either have a plug-in hybrid or an electric variant. For instance, the C5 will be launched next year with a plug-in hybrid version for Europe and China. Further, every vehicle that will be launched from 2021, will have an electrified version. So by 2025, 100 per cent of PSA vehicles will either have plug-in or an electric variant. "At the appropriate time we will share about our future product & propulsion portfolio in line with the local market needs, requirements and readiness for new technologies, specially the charging infrastructure.", Roland added.
Roland, in response to being asked if Citroen India's focus will be on luxury, space or efficient engines, said the following:
"Citroën continues to be a core market brand which has always been inspired by societal changes (Brand Signature: Inspired by You) and therefore has all the potential to meet the expectations of Indian customers. Citroen will follow “Be different” positioning to launch the brand “from scratch” in a new market –where it need to have strong differentiation levers (design, technology etc...) to be able to emerge in the Indian landscape."
There could also be specific buyback schemes for customers as well as tailored maintenance plans post the launch of the C5 Aircross SUV. The lease as well as finance program introduced a couple of months ago is a precursor to building a eco-system here, according to Roland.
Since most manufacturers are shying away from BS-VI diesels, we were curious if Citroen India too will follow a similar approach. Roland says that, "We are going to offer powertrains that are eco-friendly and compliant with the new BS-VI emission standards in line with the CAFE 2022 standards of India, which are quite stringent. Powertrain choices will depend on the customer needs and preferences in each of the segments that we will operate in and we will announce the same at launch of the products."
Citroen India's dealer approach too will be slightly different than other makers. Roland elaborates that, "Our urban dealer concept, known as ‘La Maison Citroën’, is already successful in various parts of Asia & Europe and we intend to bring the concept to India with further local relevance. These dealerships are a result of extensive research and cost optimisation, which of course is the need of the hour in the Indian automotive retail space. The ‘La Maison Citroën’ in the true sense means “Feels like Home”. Our focus will be on an all-inclusive digital platform which will integrate seamlessly with the physical stores. We call this the PHYGITAL NETWORK, where we will combine digital technology and physical stores to offer a seamless customer experience.
The digital first approach is inspired by new-age Indians leading digital lives. We aim to bring about digital disruption through our ATAWADAC initiative for a seamless digital customer experience – Any Time, Any Where, Any Device, Any Content – A disruptive experience created for India and will be taken to the world."
Citroen will share its phase 1 dealership numbers shortly.