Europe’s second largest car maker Groupe PSA has recently announced its entry to India by introducing Citroen, the brand that is celebrating its centenary this year. Citroen has asserted itself since 1919 as a popular brand in the true sense of the word, making people and their lifestyles its first source of inspiration.
Entering India is as per the Groupe PSA’s intent revealed during the presentation of FY2018 financial results and the second phase of its strategic plan ‘Push to Pass’ for the period 2019-2021. Making the announcement then, Carlos Tavares, Chairman of the Managing Board of Groupe PSA, confirmed the Group’s ambition to conquer new markets and announced that the Peugeot brand was chosen to enter the North American market and Citroen for India. The group has five car brands, Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall.
Linda Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, Citroën Brand, Groupe PSA; Emmanuel Delay, Executive Vice President and Head of India-Pacific, Groupe PSA; and Roland Bouchara, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, Citroën India, were also present at the event.
Its ‘Push to Pass’ strategic plan represents a first step towards the achievement of the group’s vision to be a global carmaker with cutting-edge efficiency and a leading mobility provider sustaining lifetime customer relationships.
Accordingly Citroen will roll out its ‘Inspired by You’ brand positioning in India, using the same approach that has brought it success over the last five years in Europe (five years of consecutive growth and increased market share).
The elements that the company will focus on to enter India include a strong and differentiated product offering, bearing a unique design and benchmark comfort, which creates value for customers in order to stand out in an already highly competitive automobile market; an unrivalled customer experience in the automotive industry (dealer network and approach to marketing, services, digital, etc.); price positioning at the core of the Indian market, using a strategy with a high level of local integration based on the two joint venture agreements between Groupe PSA and the companies of the CK Birla Group (car assembly and distribution, and production of powertrains).
Indian In India
In India the company will be adopting a top down strategy and will begin its sale with Citroen C5 SUV before the end of 2020. This vehicle will have relatively less local content. The locally-produced models with localisation levels up to 98 percent will be launched before the end of 2021. The objective is to be Indian in India. Interestingly the company’s intent is to launch the new range of products in India before the rest of the world.
Tavares said, India is an important next step for Groupe PSA, as part of the ‘Push to Pass’ plan to increase our international footprint and revenues. “With the introduction of Citroen, our aim is to ‘be Indian in India’ and our association with the CK Birla Group, will be important to become a major player in the Indian automotive market. Globally, we have been successful in Europe and in other parts of the world because of our unique automotive experiences and delivering mobility solutions to meet our customer expectations,” he said.
Though not aggressive the company has set itself a conservative target of achieving about two percent market share in five years from the time of actual launch of vehicles in the market. Locally designed and developed models under project C-cube, the vehicles to be launched in 2021 will target the heart of the market segment. Locally designed and developed portfolio in partnership with Tata Consultancy Service, the new programme to be launched in India will come under the name of C-Cube, standing for Cool, Comfort and Clever. Cool will illustrate Citroën’s unique and bold designs, Comfort to highlight its approach of global well-being to make all Citroens easy to use working on ergonomics and connectivity, and Clever to be at the heart of the market, developing international highly localised cars to meet customer expectations. This would be backed by the launch of a disruptive and seamless digital customer experience and a distribution network.
The company also intends to export cars, engines and transmissions to various parts of the world to utilise its capacity prudently. In 2018, the Brand sold 1.05 million vehicles in over 90 countries.
Linda Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, Citroen Brand, Groupe PSA, said, “We are celebrating Citroen’s Centenary, 100 years of a brand which has constantly looked to the future of the automotive industry, by offering innovative solutions in line with the needs of each era. Globally, Citroen’s success is based on unique design, and benchmark comfort. The India automotive market is very dynamic with a high potential. We believe we have the right positioning to meet the expectations of the Indian customers.”
Emmanuel Delay, Executive Vice President and Head of India-Pacific, Groupe PSA, said, “New technologies, modern production techniques and innovative designs have played a crucial role in developing the brand for which Citroën is known. As a new player in the Indian automotive market, we will stick to remaining committed to our philosophy of constantly looking to the future and setting high standards of innovation while continuing to build on the brand attributes. Our India story will play a crucial role in making the Citroën brand more international. We are on track to meet our objective of introducing our innovative range, starting from the new Citroën C5 Aircross SUV, which will be the first of many differentiating products from the brand from our vehicle manufacturing JV between the PSA Groupe and the CK Birla Group located at Tiruvallur, Tamil Nadu. Production of Powertrains from our PSA – AVTEC Powertrain JV at Hosur, Tamil Nadu, is also on track and will support our local and global requirements.”
Roland Bouchara, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Citroen India, said, “India is a unique market and Indians are adopting new technologies at a very rapid pace. To support our range of unique new products and our in-depth study of the Indian market, we have planned for a unique customer experience, which will enable us to be the new digital reference for a seamless customer experience in the Indian automotive market. We are planning to introduce a unique digitally disruptive, omni-channel customer journey to deliver ATAWADAC (AnyTime AnyWhere AnyDevice AnyContent) experience to customers. Our Network focus will be to develop lean and phygital (physical + digital) formats with a ‘brick to click’ orientation. This seamless experience will be brought alive by personalized digital sales and service processes for our customers.”