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Citroen Aims At Disruptive Strategy And SUVs To Crack Indian Market

Exclusive: Citroen will bring global portfolio products to India, but they will be heavily customised and tweaked to suit Indian market conditions and Indian consumer tastes.

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The Citroen C5 Aircross will be the first SUV to be launched in India by the brand

Citroen wants to become a more international brand, and it believes getting to India will be a big step towards that dream. The French brand that is a part of the PSA Peugeot-Citroen Group sees India as an important market, and as it says 'an enormous and a growing market'. Just days after the announcement that Citroen that will lead the PSA Group's charge in India, we now have more details on what the company's India game plan is looking like.

Also Read: Exclusive Details Of Citroen's Product Strategy In India

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Linda Jackson, CEO, Citroen said that the cars from the company are going to be available at the right price at the heart of the market

Also Read: Citroen C5 Aircross SUV Unveiled In India; Launch In 2020
Speaking exclusively to NDTV carandbike, Linda Jackson, CEO, Citroen said, "When you are a brand that is at the heart of the market, you have to be efficient in everything. The way you make vehicles, the way you design vehicles, and the way you bring them to market. We are going to be efficient when we come to the market. So that could be efficient in terms of being disruptive. It could be disruptive in the way that we come to the market, the way that distribution strategy could be. And they're going to be available at the right price at the heart of the market."
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The Citroen C5 Aircross has already been confirmed for the Indian market

Citroen will leverage the digital medium to not just market its products but also for the actual distribution and retail of cars as well. Ms Jackson further said, "You've got to stand out. You got to be different. And therefore you can't just be different about your products. What are you bringing that's new to the market? What are you bringing that's away from the old traditional way. What have you got that's different? And therefore you have to spread that across the whole customer journey. And that means in terms of distribution as well. So we will be looking to do something disruptive on that as well." Big plans then for a brand that still has to lock in manufacturing, sourcing and yes - the specific models that it will begin its India innings with.

Also Read: Citroen India Plans To Grab 2 Per Cent Market Share By 2025-26

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The Citroen C5 Aircross will enter the trending and competitive SUV segment in India and will go up against the likes of the Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass and Tata Harrier

And that is where once again the focus will be on the fastest growing segments in India - Sports Utility Vehicles or SUVs. Citroen has already been aggressively refreshing its model lineup, and at the heart of that big change seen since 2014 are a slew of new SUV and MPV models. Ms Jackson agrees that profitable volumes worldwide will rely heavily on compact cars and SUVs. "Across the world we have launched a highly successful B segment SUV (C3 Aircross) and of course the C SUV (C5 Aircross). So I think across the B and C segments we see, as we call them - volume-profit opportunities. And I think wherever you go that's evident - from South America, to China, to India. From a Citroen point of view that's why we have launched the vehicles in the sequence that we have. Recognising that the priority you do these things is the priority of the market. I think that's probably true of the Indian market."

Also Read: Citroen To Introduce New Digital Strategy To Build A Strong Network In India

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Citroen CEO Linda Jackson said that Citroen will be disruptive as far as product strategy is concerned when it comes to India

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We have already reported on carandbike that it is the Citroen C5 Aircross midsize SUV that will be the brand's first car to roll out in India. It is expected to be followed quickly by the C3 Aircross compact SUV and its premium hatchback alter ego, the C3. While the models will be heavily customised to suit Indian consumer needs as well as market regulations, the company is sure that it will launch only its global range in India. There will be no India-only models being developed. The company will also keep a close watch on India's upcoming fuel efficiency and emissions norms that kick in by 2022 - just a few months after its first model launches. This will also help ensure that it has a clear plan to also examine the introduction of hybrids and EVs or electric vehicles to India as well - in line with its larger plan to have an electrified version of each model globally over the next 5 year period. The PSA group has two joint-ventures with Hindustan Motors. The first is for manufacturing and distribution of its cars, while the second focuses on powertrain manufacturing. In both cases, the company will look to leverage the India production base for not just catering to the domestic market needs, but also exports to other parts of the world, where similar specification cars could potentially do well.

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