Citroën accelerates growth in India, South-East Asia and South America: Locally engineered and built, all-new C3 Aircross SUV is tough outside and caring inside

Citroën’s is accelerating its international growth strategy with the reveal of All-New C3 Aircross, a unique pure B-SUV offering true value in 5-seat and 7-seat packages, specifically designed for Indian, South East Asian and South American customers

Citroën today is revealing the All-New C3 Aircross, a family B-SUV that is tough outside and caring inside, and intelligently created with regional input to meet the specific needs of customers in key markets of India, South-East Asia and South America.

All-New C3 Aircross is, above all, unmistakably a Citroën, and at the same time a pure B-SUV which will compete at the heart of each market by offering car buyers compelling value in a tailormade package combining unique and muscular design, with Citroën comfort signature and well-being, plus versatility for up to 7 people.

This new SUV model and the already launched compact New C3 represent key steps in Citroën’s international growth strategy, under which the brand is targeting 30 percent of its global vehicle sales to be in regions and markets outside of Europe by 2025.

India, South-East Asia and South America are high-potential and fast-growing markets that will positively contribute to Citroën’s international ambitions. In 2022, the brand’s Asian and Asian Pacific registrations increased by 56.9% compared with 2021 and those in South America rose by 21.2%. In India, Citroën achieved 6,588 registrations in 2022 (an increase of 872.6%), while in Brazil they increased by 37.6% (32,128) and in Argentina by 11.3% (13,846). Citroën’s brand presence in these two regions has been boosted by the successful launch of the New C3 compact hatchback.

All-New C3 Aircross is the second in a family of three new models specifically aimed at international growing markets under Citroën’s C-Cubed programme, announced in 2019, and being marketed between 2022 and 2024. One essential point is that the B-SUV is developed and produced locally – at the Thiruvallur plant in India and in Porto Real, Brazil, with a 90% level of content integration, ensuring customers’ satisfaction through an offer perfectly matched to their needs, faster parts availability and overall lower cost of ownership.

Unmistakably Citroën, All-New C3 Aircross is a tough and distinctive SUV available in both 5-seater and 7-seater versions and targeted for launch in India and South America from late 2023. From 2024, it will also be launched in Indonesia, a new market for Citroën’s business, announced in October 2022, and operated in partnership with Indomobil Group as sole distributor.

“The success of Citroën’s strategy to expand and grow its business globally and achieve the ambition of 30% of sales in international markets outside Europe by 2025, depends on our ability to compete successfully for customers in more than one region. Our strategy is to enter and grow in high-potential and fast-growing key regions and markets with a differentiated offering for customers which is affordable, locally-tailored and locally-built, which stands out from the crowd and cares for the wants of these drivers and their families while providing the easiest ownership journey of any auto company. All-New C3 Aircross marks another significant step for Citroën by introducing a new dimension to the brand and allowing us to reach a whole new group of customers who want an appealing, value-for-money and spacious family B-SUV with tough, muscular design,” says Thierry Koskas, Citroën CEO.

Right time, right product

Citroën has worked hard to ensure the 4.32m long, 5- and 7-seater All-New C3 Aircross is the right vehicle at the right time to enter the fast-growing and highly competitive B-SUV segment in the Indian, Indonesian and South American markets.

In INDIA, the B-SUV segment is divided into two, based on the taxes applied to vehicle length. Sales of models longer than 4m increased by 32% in 2022 compared to 2021, reaching 366,432 units. It accounts for nearly 9.9% of the passenger vehicle market which represents about 4 million units sold annually. Along with the growth in the number of drivers over recent years, the number of vehicles offered in the B-SUV subsegment also increased, making it extremely competitive.

“Significantly in India, the decision to purchase a B-SUV is made by the whole family and often with friends as well. While the budget and overall cost of ownership equation is the prime consideration, we know Indian families place huge importance on distinctive design, a commanding street presence and high levels of all-round comfort with space and flexibility, connectivity and features because they understand these vehicle attributes speak to their lifestyle and status.  That is why we have spared no effort in making All-New C3 Aircross truly desirable and accessible for these families,” says Saurabh Vatsa, Citroën Head, India.

Today, choices are limited for customers if their affordable family vehicle needs to be spacious and versatile enough to carry up to seven occupants and offer attention-grabbing pure-SUV design with great performance and latest technology.  Until All-New C3 Aircross is launched, the only realistic 7-seater option for a family on a modest budget is a less-desirable Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV).

“All-New C3 Aircross is in sync with the needs of the country, as SUVs overall command nearly 40% of the total market share. With demand continuing to grow rapidly, B-SUVs have emerged as one of the frontrunning groups within the segment. Teams across the globe have worked together to deliver yet another highly-localised vehicle for India that will sit between the brand’s New C3 and C5 Aircross offerings. It will also be made in India, powered by the insights and efforts of our R&D and engineering centres across the country as well as those of the vehicle assembly plant at Thiruvallur, and powertrain plant at Hosur in Tamil Nad,” adds Roland Bouchara, CEO and Managing Director of Stellantis India.

In INDONESIA, the market is maturing rapidly and offers great potential for growth. Vehicle sales are expected to double between 2021 and 2030, making it the fastest growing market in South-East Asia, and second fastest in Asia. Almost 70% of vehicles sold here are 7-seaters (MPVs and SUVs), and since 2016, the increasing demand for B-SUVs has seen this segment reach 20% of the market.

Citroën’s arrival in Indonesia as the brand that “Dares to Care” is timely, and the 7-seater All-New C3 Aircross B-SUV will appeal to professionals and their families seeking a vehicle that makes the daily work commute, weekend outings and adventures to enjoy their hobbies both easy and stress-free.

In SOUTH AMERICA, Citroën is already enjoying momentum in Brazil and Argentina with ambitious plans to grow market share four fold between 2021 and 2024. Over the last five years, the B-SUV segment has been the fastest growing and now accounts for 20,5% of the market, compared to just under 7% for the B-Hatch segment. It is also the most competitive with 16 vehicles already on sale in Brazil and 17 in Argentina, though All-New C3 Aircross will be the only B-SUV to offer a 7-seat option when it launches later in 2023.

“Citroën aims at consolidating its presence in the B-SUV segment in South America where today we are very well positioned in Argentina and growing in Brazil and other markets. All-New C3 Aircross is clearly a car that will be fundamental to reach that goal. When conceiving this B-SUV, we made sure to address the needs of South American customers in terms of robustness, style and versatility and we are fully confident that we achieved it. Citroën will be the only brand in the market to offer a 7-seater in the B-SUV segment”, says Vanessa Castanho, Vice President of Citroën Brand in South America.

Directly driven by regional customer wants and needs

Key to the success of Citroën’s C-Cubed programme is the collaborative effort between regional Citroën teams and the company’s designers and engineers. Specifically for All-New C3 Aircross, this involved thorough research into the physical conditions in each market, and extensive conversations with customers to ensure this B-SUV fully meets their wants and needs. While minor variations will exist between vehicles offered in each market based on these deep insights, some common themes emerged from customer clinics, which directly influenced the final design and features.

“Listening to the voices of so many potential customers in these markets drove us to make sure New C3 Aircross offers families a unique package they will appreciate, combining distinctive signature Citroën brand design markers with pure SUV attributes in a muscular and eye-catching vehicle that represents great value. It fully embraces our 360-degree approach to comfort and well-being for everyone through outstanding roominess, modular versatility and space to carry up to 5 or 7 people in serenity. It comes with high levels of equipment and technology, including for seamless connectivity on the move, and the family can make their vehicle even more personal with an extensive offer of themed packs and accessories made-to-measure for each market,” says Laurence Hansen, Citroën Product and Strategy Director.

Tough outside and caring inside

All-New C3 Aircross is a desirable, 4.32m long family B-SUV with tough, expressive design that inspires confidence. It features an assertive front face with a high bonnet, wide track width, Citroën Y-shaped lighting signature and powerful double grille with lower skid plate to deal with varying road conditions and maximise cooling. In silhouette, it stands out with among the best 200mm ground clearance, muscular wheel arches with large wheels and tyres, and resilient protective claddings.

The wide C-pillar adds verticality and strength to the body, while neat rear quarter windows add to the feeling of light and space for passengers. Windows and long rear doors enhance the feeling of height, light and visibility, and allow easy access to the rear rows of seats.

To enhance their pride of ownership, customers in each region can also personalise their vehicle by choosing from a wide range of themed packs and accessories tailor-made to market expectations and designed to add character, street presence and value.  Additionally, Citroën’s signature contrasting roof colours create an eye-catching dual tone effect for owners who want to add extra distinctiveness to their vehicle.

Citroën’s passion for ingenious conception to ensure drivers and occupants enjoy unrivalled safety and onboard comfort is evident in every detail of All-New C3 Aircross. Riding in the spacious cabin is a pleasure thanks to tuned suspension which maximizes comfort and minimises body roll in demanding traffic conditions and over varying road surfaces. Citroën-tuned steering and turning circle for enhanced agility and easy manoeuvring in dense urban traffic complement this. Even the underbody structure and approach angles have been engineered to ensure that All-New C3 Aircross can tackle rough, crumbling road surfaces with ease and climb up or down steep slopes without touching them.

Muscular and purposeful bumpers along with the high ground clearance make it easy to bump up and over high kerbs and sidewalks when required, while the torsional stiffness of the body has been closely studied to reduce vibration and amplify occupant comfort.

All-New C3 Aircross is particularly roomy. The 5-seater model offers one of the best knee room for rear seat passengers and up to 482 litres of luggage volume, while the 7-seater model adds intelligent modularity for multiple uses, with a third row of two individual seats. These can be folded down or removed individually when the family needs to balance the room for passengers with up to 511-litres capacity for luggage or materials.

The bright, spacious and smartphone-friendly interior is extremely well equipped, and embodies Citroën’s acknowledged 360-degree approach to comfort and occupant well-being. Supremely comfortable seats combine with a powerful climate and air-conditioning system to keep everyone relaxed, particularly in the second and third rows of the 7-seater version thanks to a unique ventilation module mounted into the roof panel. Thoughtful storage solutions throughout include cup holders that double as smartphone holders and up to 5 USB plugs so occupants can power their connectivity and stay in touch or entertained on the move.

Up front, the eye-catching and layered horizontal instrument panel features a unique soft-touch grain across the middle. On upper versions, New C3 Aircross comes with a 7-inch TFT cluster and an available 10-inch touchscreen – among the largest in this class – sits centrally and provides access to key infotainment and connected services – including mirroring capability for access to Apps using Apple Car-Play or Android Auto.

SOURCE: Stellantis

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