Citroen India turns three, sells over 17,000 cars and SUVs since market entry | Autocar Professional


French automaker Citroen, which entered the Indian passenger vehicle market exactly three years ago on April 7, 2021 with the launch of its first product (C5 Aircross), is celebrating Citroen India’s third anniversary with the rollout of a limited ‘Blu’ edition for the C3 and eC3 hatchbacks, and reduced prices of Rs 599,000 and Rs 899,000 for the C3 and C3 Aircross SUV respectively, albeit only for April 2024.

Since its entry in India three years ago, Citroen has introduced four models in the market, beginning with the premium C5 Aircross SUV. The company rolls out its cars and SUVs from the PCA Motors plant in Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu. PCA Motors is a joint venture between the the then-PSA Group (now merged into Stellantis) and India’s CK Birla Group.

While the two C3 models (petrol and electric) have sold 14,493 units, the C5 Aircross C5 and C3 Aircross have sold 2,705 units till end-February 2024.

Between April 2022 and end-February 2024, as per SIAM data of wholesales in the domestic market, Citroen India has sold a total of 17,198 units (see data table above). While the two C3 models (petrol and electric) have together sold 14,493 units, the two SUVs (C5 Aircross C5 and C3 Aircross) have sold a total of 2,705 units.

Of the four products in the market, the C3 hatchback is the highest seller with 11,869 units and accounts for 69% of total Citroen India sales till end-February 2024. Its all-electric sibling eC3 is the next highest-selling model with 2,624 units while the C5 Aircross SUV has clocked 1,132 units in just six months after launch in September 2023. The company’s first product – the C3 Aircross SUV – is ranked fourth with 1,132 units. Let’s take a closer look at each model.

Tale of two hatchbacks and two SUVs
The flagship C5 Aircross SUV, launched on April 7, 2021 is a refined crossover with exceptional ride comfort and powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine.

The C5 Aircross has, till end-February 2024, sold a total of 1,132 units. Demand has fallen year on year from 775 units in FY2022 to 301 units in FY2023 and to just 56 units in the first 11 months of FY2024. This is likely due to the C5 Aircross’ high price (Rs 36.91 lakh to Rs 43.57 lakh, on-road Delhi for the Feel and Shine variants respectively) and the lack of a petrol option, which have limited its appeal.

Citroen India’s second product is the C3 sub-four-metre hatchback with crossover styling. First revealed in September 2021 as a mass-market product for India and emerging markets, the C3 is built on Citroen’s Common Modular Platform (CMP). Ten months later, the C3 was launched in July 2022 with two petrol engine options – a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder engine that develops 82hp and 115Nm and mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, and a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder turbo-petrol unit, producing 110hp and 190Nm, with a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Quirky looking, the C3’s USP’s are the spacious and comfy interiors, excellent ride quality and the turbo-petrol engine. However, it there is a compromise on a number of features. Currently priced between Rs 729,000 to 10.19 lakh (on-road Delhi) for the five variants on offer, the C3 is the best-selling product for Citroen India. The hatchback has sold a total of 11,869 units till end-February 2024.

February 2023 saw the launch of the third made-in-India product: the all-electric Citroen eC3 at an introductory price of Rs 11.50 lakh. The Citroen eC3 gets a 29.2kWh battery pack, which powers the front axle-mounted electric motor that produces 57hp and 143Nm of peak torque. While 0-60kph is achieved in a claimed 6.8 seconds, top speed is 107kph.

The electric version of the C3, which has a comfortable ride and a decent range of 320km, however misses out on some creature comforts. It is also priced higher than the Tata Tiago EV. The eC3, with 2,624 units sold till end-February 2024, is the company’s third highest selling product and the only one to record year-on-year growth.

Going forward, the eC3 will see its numbers growing. In mid-March 2024, Citroen India signed an MoU with ride-hailing and EV charging service provider BluSmart Mobility to supply 4,000 eC3s to expand the BluSmart fleet of all-electric cars.

Product No. 4 is the C3 Aircross SUV. In September 2023, in an effort to tap the growing demand for midsize SUVs, Citroen India launched the C3 Aircross SUV with 90% localisation at Rs 999,000. With this, the company entered a highly competitive segment bristling with eight rivals. The C3 Aircross, which is powered by a punchy 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine, gets an innovative unique 5+2 seating configuration which makes it stand out amongst midsize SUVs. The SUV offers a 511-litre boot space with the third row folded flat. That the product has taken off in the market is reflected in its sales numbers – between September 2023 and February 2024, the C3 Aircross has sold 1,573 units.

Citroen India to soon up the ante

The Citroen Basalt will be launched in India in the second half of CY2024

Citroen is now readying to introduce its fifth product, the recently revealed Basalt Vision coupe-SUV.  The Basalt, which will be produced in India and also exported to South American markets, will be launched in India in the second half of this year.

While all the four Citroen models introduced in India have received rave reviews for their driving dynamics and fundamentals, the key reason for the lesser-than-expected sales is a lack of features in a market replete with high-on-tech and cars and SUVs rich with modern functionalities. 

The Citroen C3 and C3 Aircross, for instance, have been devoid of an automatic climate control (ACC) system, keyless entry-and-go, push-button engine start-stop functionality, and even an automatic dimming internal rear-view mirror. What hasn’t helped either is the small sales and aftersales network.

However, this is set to change soon. In February, Citroen India announced plans to offer six airbags as standard on all its models from the second half of 2024 and also automatic climate control. Currently, apart from the C5 Aircross, all the other three models come equipped with just two airbags even in their top-spec guise.

The company has outlined a new gameplan designed to drive the Citroen brand into India’s booming mainstream passenger vehicle market. This involves a restructure of its top management, upgrading its products with more features, enhanced marketing budgets and a strategic goal to more than double Citroen India’s sales to over 2,500 units a month. An aggressive sales and service network expansion programme will see it increase the number of outlets from the existing 58 by nearly 250% to 200 outlets in the next 12 months, many of them in the Tier 2, 3 and 4 markets. 

(With inputs from Mayank Dhingra)

Citroen reveals Basalt SUV-coupe, India launch in second-half 2024

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