On sale in Brazil since mid-September 2002, the Citroën C3 has made a good start to its career with more than 10,500 units sold, ahead of the VW Polo and the Renault Sandero. With an unusual proposition on the market, the C3 was able to count on accessible prices to break through and become one of the cheapest cars in Brazil.
When it was launched, the C3 was one of the few cars marketed in Brazil to sell for less than R$70,000 (€12,850), with prices going up to R$100,000 (€18,400). An initial price increase of R$ 1,000 in November was followed by a new increase at the beginning of January 2023, which did not affect the C3 Live, which remained just below the R$ 70,000 mark. However, in March, Citroën applied a new price increase to the entire range, taking the C3 Live above the 70,000 R$ threshold.
In less than six months, Citroën has increased prices three times, making the C3, which Citroën promised would be accessible and designed as such, an increasingly expensive car, even though its design leaves some equipment on the side. Rising costs certainly explain the increase in price, but this can only be to the detriment of the C3, which had the heavy responsibility of carrying Citroën's new positioning and winning market share. While sales are already slowing down (more than 3,000 units per month until December, 1,500 units per month since January), these new price increases can only complicate the task of this C3, which is fighting in a difficult segment. in Brazil, where there is plenty of competition.
With these price increases the C3 loses one of its advantages and now has to compete with vehicles sold at almost the same price, although they are not designed for accessibility and offer equipment that is not available on the C3. For example, the C3 1.0 Feel is now sold at a price of R$82,490 (€15,150) very close to an equivalent Peugeot 208 (R$84,990 or €15,600), although the Peugeot is better equipped. The same problem arises with the C3 Feel Pack 1.6 automatic, which is sold for R$96,990, the same price as an equivalent Peugeot 208, with, again, better standard equipment for the Peugeot. The same goes for the Fiat Argo, which, if you take the 1.3 automatic Trekking version and add the only optional pack (automatic air conditioning and leather seats), costs less than the less well-equipped and less liveable C3 First Edition.
Admittedly, the car industry is facing rising costs, which it is passing on in the prices of its vehicles, which have risen sharply in the last 24 months. However, if a car is less than six months old, if it is competing in a highly competitive segment and if its prices were not already very affordable when it was designed, what is the point of increasing prices indefinitely until it becomes less competitive than its competitors, which were not designed to be accessible? This situation can only complicate the career of the C3, which is already not easy, and make even more unclear the positioning of Citroën, which was in the recovery phase in Brazil. It is not by selling expensive cars designed to be accessible that Citroën will really manage to grow in Latin America...