Citroen India set for an upgrade; car buyers to benefit

Vikrant Singh
07 Mar 2024
10:25 AM
1 Min Read

The three upgraded cars will be launched in India in July

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Come July, the current Citroen India lineup including the recently launched C3 Aircross as well as the C3 hatchback will see significant enhancements to up their ‘value’ co-efficient. Both the C3 hatchback and the C3 Aircross SUV offer good bang for your buck when it comes to the price-to-size equation. These are big cars for their respective classes for not a lot of money. However, what they lack is something the Indian car buyer is not ready to accept.

Question of hygiene

What the C3 and the C3 Aircross lack are features; features that are now considered ‘hygiene’ for the class these cars operate in. And Citroen isn't the first car maker to have fallen into the trap of believing that a large car at an attractive price is all Indian customers care about; new-age features be damned. Toyota did it with the Etios and Yaris. Nissan did it with the Go and Go Plus. And even Honda dabbled in this idea with the Mobilio and BR-V. Not surprisingly, none of these really did well. Then you had the Germans. They under-specced their cars while charging a premium because they believed ‘German engineering’ would help them sail through. That too, didn't happen.

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On the other end of the spectrum, were the Koreans. Hyundai set the ball rolling by offering a premium look and feel to its cars’ interiors, and then layering it up with new-age features. But the icing on the cake was it didn't ask for a huge premium for class-leading quality and features. Sure, the Hyundais weren't the most dynamically able or the most engaging to drive in their respective classes. But, the Indian customer didn't care as much. The models were lapped up.

Kia India naturally took a page out of the Hyundai playbook given these are sister brands. Interestingly, so did Mahindra and Tata Motors. Needless to say, all these car makers unequivocally fall under the ‘successful’ column. At least in the recent times past.

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The upgrade game

As we mentioned earlier, come July, Citroen India will significantly update its current lineup. The C3 and the C3 Aircross will now get features like LED headlamps, keyless entry and start, a single-zone automatic climate control system, and possibly wireless phone charging and six airbags. But here is the clincher: Citroen India will not increase the prices of these cars significantly with the addition of these features. The focus is to up the ‘value’ game beyond the price vs size play, and gain ground on the ‘feel-good’ end as well.

The latter is a smart - and much-needed - move indeed. The C3 Aircross, in particular, is a well-priced, well-thought-out product in our opinion. And we did expect it to do better than it did. But the Indian customer in general wanted more. The fact that Citroen is now giving the Indian car buyer what they want as ‘hygiene’, without really upping the price of its offerings, should give it that launch pad it so desperately needs.

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