Citroen C3: Why A Hatchback Is The Brand’s First Mass Offering In India

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French carmaker Citroen began is innings in India earlier this year with the C5 Aircross premium midsize SUV. But its second model will be a B+ or premium hatchback, and not an SUV. Here’s why.




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The Citron C3 is a premium hatchback, or B+ segment offering being the entry-point to the French brand.

Off-late if you ask any brand in the Indian car market what segments interest them most – the answer will invariably be SUV. Yet Citroën has unveiled a car in a different segment as its first volumes driver in our country. The Citroën C3 is a premium hatchback, or B+ segment offering and was unveiled in India this week. The car will also go on sale in the first half of 2022. The Citroën C3 will also be made and sold in the Mercosur region – the trade bloc of 12 Latin American countries like Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Colombia. Just like those markets, here in India too, the hatchback still dominates car sales, even as the compact and subcompact SUV segments continue to gain ground. So unlike what we have seen from relative new entrants Kia, or MG Motor – Citroën is addressing that core of the market first – and is not resting on an SUV-only strategy.

Also Read: Citroen C3 Makes Debut In India

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The Citroen C3 will form the backbone of a volumes push for the brand in India.

That said, the Citroën C3 hatchback is very much SUV-like in styling terms. Vincent Cobbe, CEO of Citroën told carandbike, “We are still talking to a market were the freedom and wonders of individual mobility, need to be enhanced, need to be excited, need to be satisfied. And that’s the so-called B-hatch sub 4-metre segment. So we wanted to make our first statement here  It doesn’t mean we have completely ignored the benefits of SUVs. When you look at the car, you can see we have accepted or embraced a substantial SUV influence in the vehicle. In terms of posture, in terms of protection, in terms of space.” 

Also Read: Citroen CC21 Global Unveil Highlights: Specifications, Images, Features

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The Citroën C3 is the first of three products we can expect that will drive its sales in India.

So for now Citroën will go after high volume sellers like the Hyundai i20 or Maruti Suzuki Baleno on the one end, and even the higher spec variants of the models that sell a segment lower – like the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Tata Tiago, or the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios. But let us not forget – the Citroën C3 is the first of three products we can expect that will drive its sales in India. The brand has confirmed to us that there will one launch a year from 2022-24. And so the subcompact or compact SUV is still very much in play. Says Cobee, “Obviously as we implement new elements to the strategy, as we grow with family, we would address the evolutions of the market. And we know what they are. It’s always best to start by the core and expand, rather than go for the flashy, trendy thing and not be credible in the centre.”

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So for now the C3 will form the backbone of a volumes push for the brand in India and LatAm, while the follow up products will no doubt further cash in on the growth trend and demand seen in the SUV segments that sit below Rs 20 lakh in India.

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