French automobile major Groupe PSA has on Tuesday said that it has decided to re-time the launch of its first vehicle in India to Q1 2021. The company had earlier announced its plans to launch its first car in India — Citroen C5 Aircross SUV — during festive time (September/October 2020). The re-timing is aimed to move the commercial launch to a potentially more positive economic activity period where consumer sentiments are upbeat, the company has highlighted. It also said Groupe PSA would maintain the project timeline and investment for the C-Cubed programme, under which the first vehicle designed, developed and made in India would be launched in 2021 as announced in 2019 by Carlos Tavares, chairman of the managing board, Groupe PSA. Groupe PSA in India has reinforced to all employees and stakeholders the need to stay agile for business continuity post the lifting of the government-mandated lockdown, the company said.
The French auto giant had entered into a joint venture with CK Birla group way back in 2017 to manufacture both vehicles and powertrains — for both domestic and export purposes — in Tamil Nadu. Though originally, the company had announced an investment of €100 million but had scaled it up to Rs 2,500 crore later to invest in R&D centre and new products, among others. While the company has proposed to manufacture vehicles at CK Birla’s Tiruvallur plant near Chennai and powertrains at Hosur facility. The vehicles capacity would be 100,000 units per annum and that of powertrains would be 300,000 units.
The India project was announced as part of the ‘Push to Pass’ plan and launched at the beginning of 2017. As part of the agreement, the PSA group will hold a majority stake in the JV, being set up with Hindustan Motor Finance Corporation (HMFCL), for the assembly and distribution of PSA passenger cars in India. According to the second agreement, a 50:50 JV is being set up between the PSA Group and AVTEC Ltd, a CK Birla group company, for the manufacture and supply of powertrains.
The company on Tuesday further added that since the start of the Covid-19 health crisis, Groupe PSA in India has been deploying employee safety first measures across all its locations. The group remains committed to India and is working closely with all stakeholders to implement business continuity plans. As part of its Covid-19 measures, all the offices (Chennai) and plants (Thiruvallur and Hosur) in Tamil Nadu, are closed until further notice and in line with government’s lockdown directive. Work from home for all Groupe PSA employees in India has been enforced.
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