French carmaker Citroen, which recently showcased its global product – C3 – meant for emerging markets like India, is betting big on gaining economies of scale through made-in-India exports to establish a robust business in the world’s fifth-largest passenger vehicle market where it started sales operations earlier this year.
The new mass-market C3 cross-hatchback is projected to be a highly competitive and “affordable” model. Citroen India plans to leverage aggregated volumes of domestic as well as select overseas markets to systematically create a solid ground for its local operations. The C3 is slated to be introduced in India in the first half of 2022 and will be locally produced at the company’s plant in Chennai – opened as a JV with the CK Birla Group.
In a recent interview with Autocar India, Vincent Cobee, CEO, Citroen, said, “Exports are going to support our project in India by ensuring the right volumes and turnover from the word go, and also make sure that our products are competitive from the get go.”
Citroen sees immense export potential of the made-in-India C3 to right-hand drive emerging markets such as the eastern coast of Africa, and countries in the Indian sub-continent including Nepal and Bhutan.
Bullish on local component makers
Moreover, with an existing JV with CK Birla Group’s Avtec Ltd for manufacturing and supply of powertrains to both domestic and global customers from its 200,000 units annual capacity plant that was commissioned in 2020 in Tamil Nadu’s Hosur, Citroen India is also undertaking exports of engines and engine components.
These components include parts made from processes such as high-pressure die casting, stamping and plastic injection moulding.
Cobee believes India has an advantage when it comes to these manufacturing capabilities where suppliers are also able to leverage cost benefits from their high installed capacities.
“India has some of the most high-quality suppliers, who are Deming Prize winners too,” he added.
He further said, “Putting these things together, India is a very capable and attractive export base. We have demonstrated this within Stellantis by exporting both powertrain components and full powertrain assemblies, and we will continue to do so in future because India has global competitiveness in both cost and quality.”
The company is targeting close to 90 percent gross localisation in the upcoming C3 cross-hatchback which is slated for launch in India in H1 CY2022. “Being in a very price-sensitive market like India requires one to not put their cart in front of the horses. One must ensure that they are at the right level of frugality to offer a very attractive value proposition to customers,” Cobee signed off.