Citroen India unveils locally-developed C3 Aircross mid-size SUV with 90 percent localisation

The French carmaker is eyeing to tap into the booming SUV segment in the country and aims to grow its market share with indigenous products.

By Mayank Dhingra calendar 27 Apr 2023 Views icon6776 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Citroen India unveils locally-developed C3 Aircross mid-size SUV with 90 percent localisation

Citroen has unveiled its latest product for the Indian market - the C3 Aircross mid-size SUV - that has been designed, developed and engineered completely in India. The C3 Aircross, which measures 4.3 metres in length, will go right up against the Hyundai Creta, Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara and Kia Seltos when it goes on sale later this year around the festive season. The company aims to be the No. 6 or No. 7 player in the mid-size SUV segment that already makes 10 percent of the Indian passenger vehicle market.

The SUV has been built on the carmaker's modular platform which also spawns the C3 hatchback, introduced in India last year. The C3 Aircross will come with a unique 5+2 seating configuration, with the company claiming that the last row will offer adequate space for children or short adults over shorter distances. The SUV offers a 511-litre boot space with the third row folded flat.

Without disclosing any model-specific investments into the C3 Aircross, Citroen mentioned that it has collectively invested into the platform and the investment will be ammortised between the three models - C3, eC3 and C3 Aircross.

According to Lurence Hansen, Citroen Product and Strategy Director, "The C3 Aircross gets a pure-SUV design to make it look muscular on the outside, while offering roominess and practicality inside the cabin."

The SUV comes with a signature Citroen front fascia, marked by a dual-chevron Citroen moniker taking centre stage. The C3 Aircross boasts of a 200mm ground clearance. The company says the rear doors have been widened to allow easy ingress and egress for owners. The C3 Aircross will come powered by a 110hp, 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine paired with a manual transmission.

Speaking at the unveil, Roland Bouchara, CEO and MD, Stellantis India, said, "We remain committed to our strategy - C-Cubed programme - of introducing one new model in India every year, and the C3 Aircross will accelerate the next phase of our growth and expansion in India.

"The C-Cubed programme is a key element of Citroen's global growth strategy and is pivotal in our ambition to strengthen our product portfolio and grow our market share in India," Bouchara said.

While the Citroen C3 hatchback has garnered over 9,000 registrations since its  launch July CY22, Citroen India eyes more numbers as it strengthens its dealer footprint in the coming months. The company is also exporting the fully-built C3 to the ASEAN and Africa regions, while it also exports transmissions to Europe since CY19, through its alliance with Avtec.

High degree of localisation
The new C3 Aircross has been developed and engineered in India, for Indian customers, and Citroen claims a localisation level of 90 percent for this new model.

According to Thierry Koskas, CEO, Citroen, "India is a very competitive market with customers being very demanding. That is why we have designed and developed the C3 Aircross right here in the country."

"India will be a key pillar in growing Citroen's volumes outside of Europe by CY25, when we aim to register a 30 percent growth in our outside-Europe numbers," he added.

The French carmaker already registered a notable 57 percent growth in its global bookings in CY22, with India and Asia Pacific leading the charge.

"India is key for India, Citroen aims to be at the top of customer consideration in India and we will cater to the market with desirable products as per customer needs," Koskas concluded.

Focus on customer experience
As the company readies the C3 Aircross for a market launch likely in the second half of CY23, Citroen India is sharpening focus on customer experience. The company aims to double its existing 30 touchpoints to 60 in 65 cities by the time the new SUV goes to market. It has also announced plans to grow the network to 100 outlets by CY24.

For potential customers in non-showroom locations, Citroen India says the digital journey of a customer is also key with potential buyers being able to configure their cars, choose financing, and make full payment online, to get the vehicle delivered right at their doorsteps.

Saurabh Vatsa, Brand Head, Citroen India also announced the Citroen Citizen service - an umbrella of customer services such as doorstep service programme, financing, insurance, and extended warranty among others that will enable customers to choose the right options for their cars.

C3 Aircross exports and electrification plans
Citroen India which is presently focused on exporting the C3 hatchback to ASEAN and African markets could also consider exporting the made-in-India C3 Aircross to the same countries. "The floors are open, and nothing stops us from doing it, but we haven't decided anything yet on exporting the C3 Aircross from India," said Koskas.

Citroen is also cognisant of the evolving powertrain scenario in the country's passenger vehicle market, which is increasingly seeing the offtake of CNG and hybrid powertrain options.

According to Koskas, "There are various new technologies which are evolving the market in terms of powertrains. There is CNG, hybrids, ethanol - which are all quite interesting. While we are not making any commitment, we will assess the market for its evolving needs. It is probably early days right now."

With a strong vision for electrification wherein it has already introduced the all-electric e:C3 in the country, the company also mentioned that since the C3 Aircross is based on the same platform, it could be a possibility in the future.

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