French Carmaker PSA to Drive into India in an SUV

June 11, 2018
The company plans to build brand image with Citroen SUV before launching mass-volume products in the country

French carmaker Groupe PSA could adopt a top-down approach for India by introducing an imported Citroen model – an SUV — in 2019 to build the brand image before mass-volume products hit the local market in two years.

According to several people in the know, PSA plans to import Citroen C84 or Citroen C5-Aircross in India to seed the brand before transitioning to the mass market. PSA is considering assembly of the vehicles at its Chennai factory, although the move is yet to receive final approval, one of several people aware of Groupe PSA’s plans told ET.

The Premium SUV from PSA will take on the likes of Jeep Compass, Hyundai Tucson and Skoda’s upcoming SUV Karoq in India. This is the same path that its European rivals Volkswagen, Skoda and Renault (on its solo journey) had adopted during their India entries.

In an email response to ET’s queries, the PSA spokesperson said: “Our projects in India are progressing well, and are in line with schedules.” The spokesperson declined specifics, citing confidentiality of company entry strategy.

PSA is likely to set up five ‘Destination’ or ‘Experience Stores’ across major cities to give Indian consumers a flavour of the brand before it establishes itself across top 80 or 100 markets in the subsequent 3-4 years.

The company is progressing well on its Smart Cars project — a couple of compact SUVs and a sedan for the Indian market. Designed with the motto of ‘Be Indians in India’, the company has hired TCS in an attempt to design and develop products for Indian buyers at local levels of costs, and compete effectively against Maruti and Hyundai.

PSA has already started building its core team for the brand rollout. It has brought on board Saurabh Vatsa, a former chief marketing officer of General Motors India, as its director marketing; Ashish Sahni has joined as head of digital marketing from Tata Motors and Prasad Phansalkar has joined as the director for dealer development, having helped brands such as BMW, Volkswagen and Mahindra to build their networks.

Around Q3, the company will accelerate hirings for critical positions for sales, said one of the four top sources ET spoke to.

Groupe PSA, the second largest automaker in Europe, has been systematically building presence in the country.

indiatimes