European auto major PSA Groupe announced that it will launch the Citroen brand in India, with the first model expected to be rolled out before the end of 2021. PSA Groupe Chairman of the Managing Board Carlos Tavares, during the presentation of 2018-19 financial results, confirmed the group's intention to launch Citroen brand in India. "Citroen will be back to India no later than 2021. We have selected Citroen as a brand that we are going to use to come back to India. We have already invested, we have already created a manufacturing footprint in India. We have a powertrain plant in India, we have a vehicle plant in India, we have a partner and we are now building a network to support the launch of this new brand in the country," Tavares said. The brand will soon announce a family of disruptive international products which would also be used in the Indian market, he added.
In 2017, PSA Groupe had announced a partnership with CK Birla Group to re-enter the Indian market and earmarked an initial investment of 100 million euros to set up a plant for vehicle and powertrain manufacturing in Tamil Nadu. The tie-up entailed two joint venture agreements between the groups.
"We are very proud to launch Citroen in India, one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Building on the brand's success in Europe with five consecutive years of growth, I am convinced that Citroen's selling proposition of unique styling, eco-friendly and comfortable cars at the heart of the market has all the potential to satisfy Indian customers," Citroen CEO Linda Jackson said.
CK Birla Group Chairman CK Birla said the announcement of Citroen brand for its vehicle JV in India, soon after the inauguration of the powertrain JV greenfield facility at Hosur in late 2018, is a major milestone for the long-term partnership of the two groups.
"It is truly an exciting brand for the Indian consumers seeking international eco-friendly products designed for and made in India with unique styling and comfort," he added. In 2018, the Citroen brand sold 1.05 million vehicles in over 90 markets.
PSA Groupe, which sells three brands -- Peugeot, Citroen and DS -- is no stranger to India, having entered into a partnership with the erstwhile Premier family resulting in JV Peugeot PAL India. However, it pulled out from the JV in 2001.
The group had made repeated attempts to return to the Indian market. In 2009, it decided to go slow on plans to kick off operations in India due to a global economic slowdown. Later, in 2011, it announced plans to re-enter the Indian market with a mid-sized sedan, ten years after it had exited the country. The plan, however, did not materialise.
The CK Birla Group is better known for the now discontinued iconic Ambassador car that was manufactured by group firm Hindustan Motors. It has a presence in technology and automotive, home and building, and the healthcare and education sectors.