Citroen officially began their operations in India a week ago with the launch of the C5 Aircross SUV. The C5 Aircross is Citroen's halo product in India and is quite expensive - price starts from INR 29.90 lakh (ex-showroom) - on account of being a CKD. What will make the French carmaker really mainstream in India is their second offering that will sit in the very lucrative sub-compact SUV segment. Codenamed the CC21, the Citroen sub-compact SUV is reportedly slated for its global unveil on May 20, 2021, before it goes on sale in our market sometime around the festive season.
The Citroen CC21 sub-compact SUV will be manufactured here in India for both domestic and export purposes. The sub-compact SUV space is Citroen's best chance at going mainstream in India. In fact, it is being specifically developed for the Indian market and other developing nations. The CC21 will be underpinned by a new platform which is a derivate of the carmaker's Common Modular Platform (CMP) that also underpins several Peugeot and Citroen vehicles globally. This will also be the first time that Citroen has debuted a new platform outside of Europe.
Based on these spy shots, an interesting thing to note is that the CC21 appears smaller than other sub-4m SUVs such as the Hyundai Venue and Kia Sonet. Yes, it has an SUV-ish design and it rides pretty tall as well, but its overall dimensions and footprint are more comparable to those of the premium hatchbacks. Citroen could thus be looking to undercut the sub-compact SUV space and price the CC21 very aggressively with a sub-INR 5 lakh starting price. All test mules seen so far were heavily wrapped in camouflage but we are very certain that it will feature Citroen's quirky design theme.
The India-spec Citroen sub-compact SUV will actually be a derivate on the Citroen C3 sold overseas. While Citroen offers a range petrol and diesel engines on the C3 globally, the India-spec model will be a petrol only SUV. There are quite a few engine options that the carmaker could be considering. Citroen will be manufacturing engines of displacement between 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre at its joint facility with CK Birla group in Tamil Nadu. The sub-compact SUV could be powered by 1.2L turbo-petrol or a 1.0L turbo-petrol engine.
The CC21 will also be the first model under Citroen's C-Cubed programme for India. The Citroen sub-compact SUV will be 'made in India' with high levels of localization. Like any new model in India, pricing will be the key. Following that, Citroen promises to keep introducing at least one new model every year, gradually building up its product line-up in our market. A mid-size SUV to rival the likes of the Jeep Compass and Tata Harrier might be on the cards next.