4 Citroen models are in the pipeline for India, and these will include a Hyundai Venue rival. All four models will be launched in our market by 2023. Citroen EVs will also be sold in India, but they will arrive later.
The first Citroen launch in India will be the C5 Aircross. Officially, the original plan was to launch the compact SUV this year. According to a report from Passionnément Citroen, the company wanted to put this compact SUV in showrooms in September 2020. In April, the company announced that it has changed the Citroen C5 Aircross launch date in India to Q1 2021 because of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Citroen C5 Aircross will be an imported model assembled locally from French-made knocked down kits. It will be mainly about establishing the brand and helping it achieve a premium image in India. The other three models arriving after it will be manufactured in India. They are being developed as part of the ‘C Cubed’ program and will be based on the CMP platform, which Groupe PSA and Dongfeng Motors co-developed in France.
The three models that have received the green signal for India under the C-Cubed program are a sub-4 metre SUV like the Hyundai Venue, a small hatchback like the Hyundai i20 and a small sedan like the Hyundai Verna. They are being designed and developed in India. The first of the lot will arrive in 2021 itself, presumably in the second half of the year, and we’re positive that it will be the sub-4 metre SUV. The other two models will follow year after year in 2022 and 2023.
Citroen vehicles in India will be built at a plant in Tiruvallur, Tamil Nadu. This plant was previously wholly owned by Hindustan Motors, but now Groupe PSA has an undisclosed majority stake in its ownership. The engines and transmissions of these vehicles will be sourced from a new 50:50 JV plant owned by Groupe PSA and AVTEC in Hosur, Tamil Nadu. Both Hindustan Motors and AVTEC are CK Birla Group companies.
Local reports say that India will have only 10-15 Citroen dealerships initially. These will be located mostly or only in metro cities. Closer to the launch of the first model from the C Cubed project, there will likely be a ramp-up to spread in more locations.
India has started adopting EV technology, but Groupe PSA has no plan to launch a Citroen EV in India in the near future. “At the appropriate time, we will talk about our future product and propulsion portfolio according to local market needs, requirements and readiness for news. technologies, especially charging infrastructure,” Roland Bouchara, Sales and Marketing Director, Citroen (India), told the French publication.
India will get a Citroen EV eventually, though. In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Linda Jackson, EVP, Brands Portfolio Development, Groupe PSA, said: “The vehicles we launch in India will have an electric version.” It wouldn’t surprise us if the aforementioned Citroen sub-4 metre SUV ends up getting a pure electric variant at a later stage, giving our market the first Citroen EV. She also said that the Citroen C Cubed models manufactured in India will have more than 90% localisation and that they won't be sold under any other Groupe PSA brand (Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel & Vauxhall).