French automobile maker Groupe PSA in India on Tuesday announced that it will re-time the launch of its model Citroen C5 Aircross sports utility vehicle (SUV) to the first quarter of 2021.
In a statement, the group said the re-timing is aimed to move the commercial launch to a potentially more positive economic activity period where consumer sentiments are upbeat.
Owing to the lockdown, all its offices and plants in India are closed until further notice, the statement said.
At the same time, Groupe PSA has decided to maintain the project timeline and investment for the C-Cubed programme, under which the first vehicle designed, developed and made in India would be launched in 2021.
European auto major Groupe PSA is initially targeting ten cities for Citroen brand through smaller, yet highly digitised showrooms, with an aim to help its dealers to invest judiciously on-premises, as per a senior company official. The company, which formally announced to enter the Indian market with Citroen brand early this year, is looking to create a seamless digital experience for prospective customers of its first model -- C5 Aircross SUV.
"Through our network, we aim to bring in a digital disruption for seamless customer experience," Citroen India Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing Roland Bouchara told PTI. Prospective buyers will be able to research and chose model variants, transact for finance and insurance digitally, he added. With high digital intervention, the brand aims to have comparatively smaller sales outlets in the country.
"Since we are setting up a new network, we are proposing a different business model to our dealers, wherein we will have relatively smaller showrooms but digitalised," Bouchara said. It will ensure a competitive premises investment, but a stronger all-encompassing digital environment, he added. Elaborating on the physical retail set up, Bouchara said the brand aims to establish a presence across ten cities in the country before the rollout of C5 Aircross SUV next year.
"To support the launch of the C5 Aircross SUV, a premium C-SUV which will help us establish and deliver the Citron brand experience, we will initially cover ten cities through Citron network," he said. This will include all the key metro and tier-1 cities where the brand sees potential buyers for the C5 Aircross SUV, he added. He, however, did not share the exact number and locations of dealers the brand aims to have for the first phase.
"We are building complete retail eco-system in the country, which is essential before we launch the first product. This will be supported by service contracts and trade-in plans which will be announced during the launch phase of the vehicle," Bouchara said. Through the premium SUV, Citroen aims to create market acceptance for Citroen products in India, he noted.