Citroen India launches debut model C5 Aircross, focuses heavily on digital play

by Sumantra B Barooah 07 Apr 2021

The Citroen C5 Aircross is the latest SUV in the market. The C-segment SUV, available in three variants, is launched with an entry-level price tag of Rs 29.90 lakh. The other two variants are priced at Rs 30.40 lakh, and Rs 31.90 lakh. All prices are ex-showroom, Delhi.

The French carmaker says it has already received over 1,000 bookings. “70 percent of them have specified their choice of colour too,” Roland Bouchara, Senior VP -- sales and marketing, Citroën India tells Autocar Professional. That would make Citroen hopeful of a good conversion rate of bookings to actual sales.  

A latecomer into the Indian market, Citroen is focusing heavily on digital platforms to have a pan India presence swiftly. The 102-year old brand is also betting on this route to connect well with consumers in the young country. Bouchara highlights the fact that 65 percent of Indians are below 34 years of age, and that could help Citroën get some good returns on investment in the digital space. In terms of the response now, 20 percent of the C5 Aircross bookings have been done online.

Citroen India has a network of 10 ‘phygital’ dealerships to begin with. In addition, it has now launched a fully online buying service for the C5 Aircross SUV directly from factory, with doorstep delivery in over 50 cities across India. A dedicated e-commerce-enabled website will offer selection of finance, insurance, annual maintenance packages, extended warranty as well as trade-in of the customer’s existing car.

“We have taken the opportunity of being a late entrant into the market to modify the way we go to market,” says Saurabh Vatsa, Senior director – marketing and corporate communications. As Citroen progresses in its top-down strategy, towards launching models in the B segment, the focus will be on expanding market presence with perhaps a stronger focus on the digital space. “We are looking at rightsizing our showrooms so that we don’t over-invest in brick and mortar facilities. However, what we are investing, or asking our partners to invest is both invest in digital equipment and capabilities, and people who can actually manage these digital facilities,” says Vatsa.  

 Also, in what is seen as a market-first, Citroen has launched Citroen Advisor, an online review website where customers can rate their dealership, their car and their sales consultants. This model, Citroen says, has been highly successful in other markets, and this ‘pioneering tool in the automotive world’ enables the company offer transparency and proximity to its customers.  

The carmaker has also launched Citroen Future Sure, a comprehensive package which allows customers to own a Citroen with a monthly instalment of Rs 49,999, including an assured future value on the C5 Aircross SUV. The package also includes routine maintenance, extended warranty, roadside assistance and an on-road financing for upto five years.

With the C5 Aircross, the 102-year-old French brand has started a new journey. The plan is to launch a new model every year, for the next 4-5 years. While some of the models from the C-Cubed programme will play in the B segment, the belly of the Indian passenger vehicle market, Citroen could also be preparing for a segment or two which do not exist today. “Our job is to anticipate new segments,” says Bouchara. For now though, the top job for Bouchara and his team is to ensure a successful drive for the Citroen C5 Aircross.

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