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Expect India to become 2nd largest market for Citroen after France in 5yrs: CEO Thierry Koskas

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Chennai, May 2 (PTI) French automaker Citroen expects India to become its second biggest market after home country in the next five years, for which it will accelerate network expansion besides introducing new products, company global CEO Thierry Koskas said on Thursday.

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The company will be incorporating learnings from the past few years of its presence in India to attract more consumers besides looking to rope in a brand ambassador to push the brand's visibility in India.

"India is an important market for Citroen and in a few years, it will become the second biggest market for us after our home market France," Koskas told PTI here in an interview.

At the moment, India is "probably in the top 10 markets for Citroen, more towards the 10th rather than upwards", he said, adding, "So, there is a lot of room for improvement, but I think it's absolutely possible." Asked by when Citroen expects India to become its second biggest market, he said, "To become the number two, I think it's absolutely doable in the next five years." He admitted that there is a lot of gap to be bridged for India to come up to that level.

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In 2023, Citroen sold around 2 lakh units in France whereas the company had sold around 9,500 units in India.

Nevertheless, bullish on India -- the third largest automotive market globally, Koskas said, "We have great expectations to grow in this market. I don't think it's impossible, frankly, because the perspective is really good." Further, he said, "If we do things well, if we introduce new cars with the right level of quality with the features that young people are requesting, and we are improving on this one, and once we do that, I think that the brand can grow very significantly." Koskas also reiterated the need "to build the awareness of the brand" because spontaneous awareness of Citroen in India at present is "not so high".

Therefore, he said, Citroen will "heavily invest" to build brand awareness in India with "some concrete initiatives" going forward.

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There will be an ambassador to represent the Citroen brand, he said without disclosing further details.

In terms of new products, he said, "We already have four products and we think it's already good but it doesn't mean that there will not be any new products in the future." As part of its new introduction plans, Citroen will launch its crossover Basalt in India later this year.

However, he said Citroen "still have to milk what we have (the existing four products)".

The company's strategy to accelerate sales in India will revolve around adding more features to products, developing networks and raising awareness of the brand, Koskas added.

On network expansion, he said, "We want to go to 200 touch points by the end of the year." Citroen currently has over 65 dealerships in India. PTI RKL SHW

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