With just over 9,000 units sold, Citroën is aware that it will be difficult to find a place for itself on the Indian market if it has to start from scratch, which is why the brand made a very early commitment to electrification in order to take advantage of an emerging segment where competition is still weak, with encouraging results.
Launched 6 months after the combustion engine versions, the small Citroën ëC3 has already sold 3,000 units since February, an average of 600 per month. Powered by a 54 hp electric motor and a 29.2 kWh battery giving it a range of 320 km (according to an Indian cycle), the very first electric C3 in history offers a daily range of almost 240 km, enabling it to meet most of its customers' daily or even weekly needs.
Designed primarily as a car for company fleets, it is ultimately private customers who account for the vast majority of C3 sales (almost 90%), proving Citroën right in this bet on rapid electrification to be in a sector spared from the usual fierce competition of the Indian market. These encouraging first results allow Saurabh Vatsa, head of Citroën in India, to say: "We are fully booked for the next five to six and a half months. Everything we produce is already reserved by customers", while pointing out that the brand is facing supply difficulties with certain imported components, which limit the production of the C3. Sales, which are mainly to consumers, are being closely monitored by the brand, leading Saurabh Vatsa to say that "demand from the B2B (consumer) segment is significant and we are trying to increase production volumes to meet this demand".
Citroën is still a marginal player on the Indian car market, with less than 1% of the market, but the imminent arrival of the C3 Aircross and its future coupé version should enable it to increase its sales, especially as these two models will soon be available with an electric motor. The brand is also relying on the development of its network, which should reach 150 sales outlets by 2024, as well as on the new products it is preparing for electric vehicles: in Indonesia, the brand presented a ëC3 in Shine finish, which should soon arrive in India.
The brand also announced the signing of a partnership with ICICI Lombard to introduce UBI (Usage Based Insurance) on the C3 electric vehicle. This new type of insurance is linked to the use of the car and the driver's behaviour to adjust the insurance premium, with potentially lower rates as a reward for good driving. This allows the brand's head in India to say that "Usage-based insurance (UBI) revolutionises the way insurance is perceived and puts the power of premiums in the hands of responsible drivers".
Citroën has never hidden the fact that it would be difficult to find a place on the Indian market and that it would be depriving itself of profitable growth by assuming that it would have to do things step by step. There is no doubt that the brand has the best chance of increasing its market share with electric vehicles, and the good sales of the ëC3 confirm this strategy, which will have to be continued and reinforced with the future electric version of the C3 Aircross.