Peugeot,Citroen or DS: Which Brand Should PSA Bring To India? -
Peugeot,Citroen or DS: Which Brand Should PSA Bring To India?
Posted 25 Jan 2017 01:32 PM

As one of the largest automotive groups in the world, PSA (Peugeot Citroen Motors) has been conspicuously absent from the Indian market. Peugeot of course did have a short and rather failed stint in India with the 309 in the late 90s due to an ill-fated partnership with Premier Automobiles and trouble with union workers. There were strong rumors a few years ago that Peugeot was looking to come back to India with a new partner and even set up a small manufacturing or assembly facility in India on which it would eventually grow. A few test cars were spotted too and everything seemed to be going smoothly for a 2013-2014 entry until once again an announcement stating otherwise was made. Now though, Peugeot and PSA’s entry into India has been confirmed in association with the Birla group with a tentative plan to have an assembly plant in Chennai.

PSA or Peugeot Citroen Motors has a wide range of cars that are extremely popular in Europe and in China too with quirky designs and interesting interiors. From small city hatchbacks and very capable hot hatchbacks to crossovers, SUVs and MPVs, the two brands between themselves have enough of a range of products to entice the Indian automotive audiences. That said, with only an initial manufacturing capacity of 12,000 cars a year (according to the European newspaper that first published the story of Peugeots return), it will be difficult for PSA to bring in a mass market car like the C3 or the 108 to India.
Citroen and Peugeot though both have a presence in nearby markets like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia apart from a great presence in the Chinese markets. This means that the Indian plant you be used to manufacture a slightly premium crossover or SUV for the time being with their more expensive cars being imported from markets like Thailand.

That said, between Peugeot and Citroen, it would be easier for PSA to start from scratch and bring in the Citroen brand to India in order to avoid any rub-off from Peugeot’s previous association with India (even though it was nearly two decades ago). The Citroen brand itself could decide to being in only the DS sub-brand with a ‘Premium European’ brand angle to take on the likes of Volkswagen. The Citroen and DS brand will also work better in India as they are pretty unknown in this part of the world and also because both brands has some pretty stunning looking cars in terms of both exterior and interior design.
In terms of what types of models or what segments to bring to India, PSA will have to adopt a top down strategy if they do not have the production capacity in place to launch a mass market hatchback or crossover in India. This means that the easiest way to ensure decent sales and to have a presence in the country is to first bring in a Rs 20-25 lakh crossover or SUV to India which sells between 750-1000 units a year and to build the brand forward post production or assembly facilities expand. PSA does have a few products in that range offering including the Peugeot 3008 but we think the DS4 Crossback would be a more ideal offering due to its design and the DS brand’s young and modern global image.

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