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Old 2nd December 2023, 18:25   #1
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Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

Citroen C3 Aircross - Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?-1.png

Despite a ₹ 1.5 lakh discount on the recently introduced Citroen C3 Aircoss, sales are not picking-up. Citroen's product strategy of a well-sorted mechanical package, a visually appealing design, a lack of features and a missing automatic transmission option as a budget offering is not working in India.

Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?-2.png

Among all the new entrants, Citroen is perhaps in the worst condition, alongside its cousin Jeep from the Stellantis group.

Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?-3.png

Citroen's pace to deliver the electrified version of the C3 in just eight months after the ICE version is commendable. However, after exhausting opportunities in two of India's fastest-growing SUV segments, what now for Citroen in India?
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Old 2nd December 2023, 20:12   #2
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re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

India has moved ahead of Citroen's expectations. For 15 lakh they are not providing features available now at 8-9 lakhs.

What they should have launched is the UK spec C3 aircross. If not in build quality at least in features and perceived quality. With proper headlamps, keyless entry and proper door handles! (See photo)

I was watching a French series where the protagonist was driving around in a c3 aircross .Now that one was a desirable and "crave-able" product.

With the same mistakes the C3X isn't going to set the charts on fire either.

Do early course-change Citroen! Launch a proper version of the C3 Aircross. Before the fate of Citroen India becomes sealed.
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Old 2nd December 2023, 21:50   #3
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re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

The C3 looks and drives better than a Celerio, but use the same formula in a 12-lakh-rupee SUV and the Aircross lags behind rivals in almost every respect.

India is no longer the cheap-sells safety-doesn't-matter market that Stellantis are trying to fit into their unrealistic, neat little model of how consumers think. Buyers are getting quite mature, and people venturing out of Maruti/Hyundai showrooms for the first time need a substantial reason to do so. They will not settle for a product that has so many obvious shortcomings.

I think the Aircross could have had some potential, had it been priced significantly lower - to the point where the absolute price overshadowed the usual quest to hit the value-price sweet spot (eg. early Nissan Magnite). But that's almost impossible today with a constantly evolving regulatory environment, not to mention evolving customer preferences especially in the areas of tech and safety.

Most customers already spending 12 lakh rupees will gladly spend a little more on something that either appeals strongly to the head, presents immense value, or makes them feel special, and the C3 Aircross, in my opinion, does none.
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Old 2nd December 2023, 22:05   #4
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re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

If CitroŽn thought they could launch the C3 with features it has today and then launch a pricier loaded version, they must be cursing themselves.

And in a country like India, revival stories are not so encouraging.
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Old 3rd December 2023, 05:16   #5
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re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

What did Citroen expect after all? Bringing out a car with flap type door handles in 2023! The last car I bought with flap handle was in 2002!!! That single thing will make 90% to stop looking beyond and see how it is inside. But the horror continues inside with very average interiors and lot of missing features. I can’t find any USP of Citroen, neither they have top class features nor have they top class safety! Who is the target customer for Citroen?

I’m sure none of the top management has sat in a car in Citroen C3 aircross segment, else they wouldn’t have allowed this one to be sold here. Did they ever conduct a customer study regarding what Indians are looking for from a new car brand? In India, the only way to capture market for a new entrant is to equip their cars with all the possible features to the extent that the customer gets overwhelmed. Cheap doesn’t sell here. Heck here in Kerala, even college students have iPhones and top end android phones, and it’s children who have a big say in car purchase. Forget youngsters, an oldie like me is not willing to be seen in this car, I will rather be happy to be seen in a rather unsafe Swift or Fronx! Instead of giving ₹1.5 lakh as discount now, they should have priced it higher and given all the features at launch.

Indians shun cheap cars, look at sales of Alto, S-presso and Kwid and yet Citroen had the audacity to repeat the harakiri. There is nothing that can be done to revive Citroen in India, period. It’s better for the French to write off this exercise and cut their losses.

Last edited by Axe77 : 3rd December 2023 at 11:00. Reason: Toning down language. Thank you.
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Old 3rd December 2023, 07:32   #6
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re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pqr View Post
However, after exhausting opportunities in two of India's fastest-growing SUV segments, what now for Citroen in India?
Are they offering free fuel for a year? That means they are really in the doldrums now. They have learnt their lesson in a hard way and I don't think they will ever recover from this. Most likely they will fade away into oblivion slowly once again, just like Peugeot did, many years ago!
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Old 3rd December 2023, 07:43   #7
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re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

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Old 3rd December 2023, 11:40   #8
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re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

Forget Flap door handles! The common customer does not pay attention to this at all! Like some one said, there is along queue for the Thar, and that has flap handles!

I think one of the biggest issue is that Citroen is trying to do a “Renault” here. They had probably seen how Renault got a quick “foot-in-the-door” with the Kwid, Triber and now the Kiger. So Citroen has sort of followed this template with the C3 twins.

But Renault established themselves with the Duster first, which was also cheap in many ways, flap handles, basic interiors and all that. But India didnt mind it in 2014-15 and it was a roaring success then ( the duster also sort of was a first mover in that 10-15 lakh cross over segment). However post the duster, Renault focused too much on “value” offerings and today their sales are dwindling as well. They now need the Duster back to get them some momentum.

Lastly, another huge issue with Citroen is the lack of an automatic. Citroen is first making inroads in the urban market, and indian cities are choking with Traffic! Without the automatic, Citroen is ruling itself out of contention for many of the urban and informed buyers ( who may already know about the brand Citroen). If they address this first, some sales momentum should happen. Adding features like automatic climate control and a small sunroof can all happen in the due course. Mahindra XUV700 has a variant—AX5, which has no automatic climate control, but has a sunroof. And this variant costs well above 25 lakhs and yet has a waiting period, says a lot about what customers want today.

Last edited by motorworks : 3rd December 2023 at 11:41.
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Old 3rd December 2023, 12:36   #9
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

The French just don't get India.

- Have they not learned from the failure of cheap, cost-cut cars that the aspirations of the Indian car buyer have changed? We don't like barebones & cheap anymore, we like value-for-money & perceived premium'ness instead.

- Have they not learned anything from the success of players like Kia India who offer either very competitive (Sonet, Seltos, Carens etc.) or truly world-class products (Carnival, EV6)?

- They really got a knife to a gunfight. Which is sad because the C3 is a terrifically engineered car - great turbo-petrol motor, suspension tuning etc.

- What kind of R&D & market research do these guys do? A tiny entrepreneur like me saw the C3's price + positioning, and I knew it will bomb. Ditto with the C5 Aircross (another car I loved driving), C3 Aircross & eC3. 4 products, all horribly positioned. The CEO of Citroen India should be fired.

All dimwit decisions taken by the company. As an example, why was there no network sharing with Jeep dealers (same parent group)? Jeep dealers are also struggling with low Compass / Meridian volumes. Why develop a new network from scratch?
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Old 3rd December 2023, 12:41   #10
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

To rub salt into the wound, two of the top sales & marketing heads have resigned from Stellantis.
Link:
Sunil Mittal, Vice President- Sales & Marketing, and Nipun Mahajan, Head of Sales & Marketing, at Stellantis to step down
https://auto.economictimes.indiatime...down/105680326

What surprises me is that at a global level, the Citroen brand is being helmed by Vincent Cobee, who was the former head of Datsun, during it's planned re-launch in emerging economies.
It can be reasonably assumed that he knows what went wrong with the Datsun twins and why the brand & products bombed in the Indian market. Despite this first hand market knowledge, it is indeed surprising to see Citroen repeat the same mistakes like Datsun did, in terms of product content & fitment and appointment of a widespread dealer network.
Really a shame because all the Citroen products are mechanically very well sorted, carry a beautiful turbo-petrol powertrain and has surprisingly good driving dynamics. A little bit of rejigging of the variants, contents and fitments and the brand has more than a fair chance of getting it's act together.
Come on Citroen, don't let these nice cars go to their grave. Ask us, and we'll tell you what to do. And we won't even charge you for it!
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Old 3rd December 2023, 13:07   #11
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

No network, limited communication, nothing really stands out on the cars vs competition, design isn’t appealing. Lots of issues, really with Citroen in India. Hope they get the product-market fit right and also the go-to-market.

On a separate note, thinkcell charts do looks beautiful!
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Old 3rd December 2023, 13:21   #12
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

Citroen will eventually exit like Datsun if they do not correct things. A tiny amount of effort in adding features and repositioning things would do the trick for them but I just dont understand what is stopping them from doing so. If the Americans were shrewd, these guys are on another level I must say. Atleast those guys tried, what are these chaps doing? Manual AC on a car that competes with the air purifier bundled Creta? I do not see this ageing well.
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Old 3rd December 2023, 15:05   #13
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

They should bring cars manufactured on newer CC21 platform in India. Already this platform will be launched in EU in 2024.

This will fill the gaps for Citroen in India like missing auto transmissions, rear defoggers, hybrids etc.
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Old 3rd December 2023, 16:31   #14
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

I was in market for buying C5 against all odds.

I called up Mumbai Showroom, they said there are no cars in stock. You can try with some other city showroom without taking any interest or asking any details .

I called Ahmedabad dealer. The sales guy was good and he managed to find that factory had 2 cars available. Started negotiations with Ahmedabad dealer and was offered a discount which I felt was quite less for a car which is absolutely not in demand. I again called Mumbai dealer giving all the details and brief of my discussion with Ahmedabad desler. The response I got was that”Sir , Ahmedabad dealer has offered you better deal. Its better you buy from them. There was no urgency of selling a car, making some package which will at least encourage me to visit the showroom. Every call was made by me and none by them.This is the state of their sales team.

I as of now have given up the idea of buying C5 , which I was 100% considering only because there was no enthusiasm shown by dealer to sell offering decent discounts which were expected in the line of other cars.

Difficult to understand their strategy for India and their pricing policies which will allow genuine buyers to visit showroom at least. Without the same , it’s difficult for Citron to do volumes.
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Old 3rd December 2023, 17:13   #15
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Re: Citroen C3 Aircross | Dead on Arrival | What now for Citroen in India?

My personal grudge with Citroen cars launched in India is their ultra cheap interior quality and ugly halogen lamps.
What are they thinking not providing better headlights when Ignis gets LED projector in its upper trim!
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