Citroen CEO Linda Jackson said that to capitalise on the opportunity that India presents, the company will launch a new vehicle every year, starting 2020. The company will position products at the heart of the market, and play large on sports utility vehicles to garner a market share of 2% in the medium term.
In view of the rise in demand for SUVs in India, Korean auto major Kia and SAIC’s Morris Garages are foraying into the Indian market with SUVs this year.
Citroen’s Jackson said, “We are going in with an image builder followed by a suite of vehicles, which will be updated as we go along. And as we said, it’s a new launch every year. And we will be refreshing those vehicles because I have learnt we need to have regular animation, lifecycle management of those products…we are not going into India to come back out again.”
The company will commence sales with assembled versions of SUV Citroen C5 Aircross in the third quarter of the next calendar year. This would be followed by a range of locally manufactured models, starting 2021. The company is investing over Euro 100 million in a new platform, which will spawn the new range. The vehicles will be introduced first in the Indian market.
At present, France is the largest market for Citroen, followed by China. “By three years, it (India) will be much bigger as a proportion of the total mix. Today, France is my biggest market. China is the second. By 2023-24, India needs to be moving up the ranking”, said Jackson.
Citroen’s entry into India is part of the larger ‘Push to Pass’ strategic plan in achieving parent company Groupe PSA’s vision of becoming a global carmaker. Citroen targets increasing annual sales by half to 1.5 million over the next three years.
By then, about 40% (up from the current 20%) of the sales would come from international markets. Jackson explained international sales for the brand would accelerate even faster in the next five years once the locally manufactured product range is in place in India by 2023-24.
(The correspondent is in Paris on an invitation of Citroen)