French carmaker Citroën debuted in India’s passenger vehicle market with the C5 AIRCROSS sports utility vehicle (SUV) on Wednesday. With an introductory price of Rs 29.9 lakh, the model rivals the Jeep Compass, Hyundai Tucson, among others.
In a first for the Indian market, buyers can purchase the car online and get it delivered directly from the factory at their doorstep. This is applicable for over 50 cities where Citroën doesn’t have a physical presence.
This will be done through a dedicated e-commerce-enabled website that allows buyers a complete package ranging from finance, insurance, annual maintenance packages, extended warranty as well as trade-in of the existing car.
“We are not running away from brick and mortar dealerships,” said Saurabh Vatsa, senior director (marketing and corporate communications) at Citroën India. He said the 100 per cent online retail strategy would help the company cater to cities where it doesn’t have a presence.
Citroën, a late entrant into the market, is hoping that with innovations like a 100 per cent online retail strategy, a mobile service truck (service on wheels), and an attractive finance scheme will help it stand out in India’s competitive passenger vehicle market where the top two players with their pan-Indian presence control more than 70 per cent of the market.
Vatsa said the company had a pre-booking of 1000 units and was seeing a lot of interest among the buyers for the flagship model.
“We chose to enter the market with C5—the premium flagship model of Citroën as it’s a new brand for Indian consumers and it’s important that they see the best from the company to establish the credentials of the brand,” he said.
Groupe PSA (now Stellantis), which owns the Citroën brand, started the production of transmissions in India (in Hosur) in 2017 with its partner AVTEC (a CK Birla Group company) and is expected to launch new and disruptive Citroën models designed locally in the next couple of years under the CQ programme. The programme will see the launch of multiple, competitively priced models with varied engine options. The French carmaker plans to introduce one new model every year.
“Instead of bringing a low trim, low cost model, Citroën has chosen to bring the top of the line model. The top down strategy bodes for India and will help the company establish the brand,” said an analyst. A high focus on digital play will facilitate a low cost structure.