French carmaker, Citroen, has unveiled its latest offering for India and emerging markets, the Citroen C3. A mass-market, sub-four-metre hatchback with crossover styling, it is built on Citroen’s common modular platform CMP. The Citroen C3 will be introduced in the country in the first half of next year and be locally produced at the company’s plant in Chennai – opened in JV with the CK Birla Group.
The Citroen C3 is high on ambition and therefore, “offers a high-growth potential to Citroen”, as per Vincent Cobee, CEO, Citroen. In that regard, Africa, Middle-East, South America and South East Asia would be on Citroen’s radar to introduce the C3. “Many places around the world like India, where owning a car is an economic challenge, but is a great emotional experience, are high-potential markets for Citroen,” Cobee added during the virtual showcase event.
The Citroen cues
The C3 bears distinct Citroen design elements including the bold ‘double Chevron’ logo emanating into a split chrome grille flanked by split halogen headlamps with LED DRLs. The fog lamps have orange surrounds, which also gel with the same highlights on the wing mirrors, roof, and lower half of the front doors.
Although it’s the size of a B-segment hatchback, the C3 sits high above the ground at around 180mm. At the rear, while the overall stance is athletic, the rear end is characterised by smart-looking wraparound tail lamps.
According to Cobee, “The C3 is aimed at young buyers who are tech-savvy and want a spacious car in a compact footprint. In the Indian market, the sub-four-metre segment comprises 25 percent of total PV sales, and the C3 will be positioned aggressively.”
On the inside, the company has livened up the cabin with a dash of orange across the dashboard and stylish split aircon vents being the key details grabbing attention. The C3 will be replete with connectivity features with its touchscreen infotainment system. The seats are set high and the window line kept low to offer a commanding driving position.
Made-in-India for the world
The C3 is likely to be offered with a petrol-only powertrain option, including a 1.2-litre turbo-charged petrol engine with either a five-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Roland Bouchara, CEO and MD, Stellantis India said, “To be successful in a cost-sensitive country like India, we need to have high levels of localisation. Therefore, we have a local engineering team and two manufacturing plants, in order to be competitive in our offering.”
“The C3 is going to be the first car in our C-cubed programme for India and be the backbone of our growth strategy in India,” he remarked.
“It is a mainstream model, and therefore, needs to be attractive and affordable, for the first-time buyers who are going to be the key target customers,” Bouchara added.
While pricing is going to be key, Citroen seems to have taken the cost-saving measures in the design and features itself, with no LED headlamps, electronically-adjustable ORVMs, and adjustable headrests on the front seats being the key VA / VE ideas implemented on the model showcased by the company.
Citroen, however, is betting big on the C3 to tap potential in emerging markets including Brazil, Argentina and also intends to export the made-in-India car to the eastern coast of Africa and neighbouring countries in the Indian subcontinent such as Nepal and Bhutan.
High on customisation
The C3 is targeted at young and progressive customers, who are also digitally-savvy and are fashionable. “That is where customisation plays a very important role in enabling them to stand out of the crowd, and set a fashion statement for themselves,” said Saurabh Vatsa, head, Citroen India.
“Indian customers want to accessorise their car right at the time of buying the vehicle and we had to design 78 accessory options right from the design stage itself. Interior colour scheme and choice of fabric were selected in close coordination with our teams in India,” said Pierre Leclercq, global design director, Citroen.
The C3 will squarely target the Maruti Suzuki Ignis, upcoming Tata Punch, and could also rival the Renault Kwid and Maruti Suzuki S-Presso if the company gets extremely aggressive on its pricing. We will have to wait and see how the story unfolds.