The French car maker believes the new C3 will be a crucial part of its journey towards growth in the Indian market
In a month that Ford announced that it is shutting down the India operations for good, the French car maker is doing exactly the opposite. It has unveiled its all-new hatchback — the C3 — that will be launched in the country in the first half of 2022. The C3 is a sub-4 metre hatchback with some SUV styling cues thrown in for good measure. According to Citroen, the car has been designed in accordance with Indian customer preferences and the prevailing road conditions in the country and in South America, where it will also be sold.
The C3 is the first of three new cars from Citroen’s ‘C Cubed’ program that was announced in 2019, and aims to lead its segment with build quality, styling, comfort, and connected technology. In order to keep costs low, the C3 will feature a high degree of localisation, without any compromise on quality. “Purchasing a car is a major investment for customers, and our ambition as a mainstream brand is to offer a modern, prestigious model offering a high level specification for the price, at the forefront of the market. To achieve this, local teams were fully involved in the definition, development, and production of the model,” says Vincent Cobée, CEO, Citroen.
Citroen, which is a part of the Stellantis Group, believes the new C3 will be a crucial part of its journey towards growth in the Indian market, since up to 70 per cent of the demand for cars in India is for sub-4m vehicles, and 50 per cent of customers are first-time buyers. The car, Citroen believes, will fit right in with its affordability, stylish design, and equipment levels. “Our teams in India and Paris have collaborated and developed this car with over 90 per cent localisation. We will be leveraging our R&D Centre in Chennai, vehicle assembly plant at Thiruvallur and the powertrain plant at Hosur in Tamil Nadu to further boost localisation efforts,” says Roland Bouchara, CEO and MD for Stellantis in India.
Citroen, which launched the C5 Aircross SUV in India earlier this year, has a tie-up with the CK Birla Group in India for car assembly and distribution, as well as powertrain manufacturing. The company is currently in the process of building its dealer network in the country, and aims to provide an unprecedented customer experience in terms of its digital sales network and aftersales service. The Indian car market is expected to hit four million units per annum by the year 2025, with B-segment hatchbacks like the C3 comprising almost a quarter of that market.
While Citroen hasn’t revealed engine and transmission details for the India-spec C3 hatchback, going by current trends in the market, we expect the car to feature a reasonably powerful turbocharged petrol engine that’ll provide high levels of efficiency, along with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions. No official details on pricing either, but we believe the C3 might be priced to compete with mid-level variants of cars like the Maruti Baleno, Hyundai i20, and Tata Altroz. Should be a good option for buyers looking for something refreshingly offbeat in the hatchback/crossover segment.