Citroen C5 Aircross Nearing India Debut; Trial Assembly begins

Citroen has already started trial assembly of a handful units of the C5 Aircross in India which will primarily be used for testing purpoes. Citroen will officially launch the SUV in India in the first quarter of 2021.

After Kia and MG Motors, a third new manufacturer is set to make its India debut in 2021. Citroen will begin their India innings with the C5 Aircross and the company has now started trial assembly of the SUV in India. The C5 will come to India as a CKD, meaning that it will be locally assembled and not locally made. Citroen has thus started trial assembly of a handful of units of the C5 Aircross at CK Birla’s facility in Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu. These locally assembled examples will be used primarily for testing. All the test mules seen previously were fully-imported units.

Citroen has started trial assembly of the C5 Aircross in India.
Citroen has started trial assembly of the C5 Aircross in India.

The Citroen C5 Aircross was originally supposed to launch in India around September this year. However, it now stands delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus scare. Citroen will now officially launch the C5 Aircross in India sometime in between January-March 2021. On account of being a CKD (completely knocked down) unit, the C5 Aircross certainly would have been expensive in India, costing upwards of Rs 30 lakh (ex-showroom). Citroen wasn’t looking to make C5 Aircross as a mass market product anyway but it meant to give the brand a premium positioning in India.

On account of being a CKD (completely knocked down) unit, the C5 Aircross certainly would have been expensive in India, costing upwards of Rs 30 lakh (ex-showroom).
On account of being a CKD (completely knocked down) unit, the C5 Aircross certainly would have been expensive in India, costing upwards of Rs 30 lakh (ex-showroom).

The C5 Aircross actually sits in the segment of the Tata Harrier and the MG Hector. In fact, its actually smaller than both of these cars measuring about 4.5 meters in length. In India, the C5 Aircross will be powered by a sole 180hp, 2.0L diesel engine that will be mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. It will also be sold in a single fully-loaded trim. A punchy diesel engine coupled with Citroen’s funky styling and premium, comfortable interiors is what the company hopes to bank on to justify the car’s premium price tag.

Citroen brings something to India that we have not quite seen before. There’s nothing that quite looks like it on the road. The design is very modern and butch. Like all other new cars in India, the C5 Aircross boasts of a split headlight design upfront and even a split grille to go along with the headlights. The C5 Aircross is based on Groupe PSA’s EMP2 platform which has spawned various other models in various markets.

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On the inside, the C5 Aircross is as radical as it on the outside. The design language is very fresh and unique in its segment. In terms of features, it gets a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, an 8-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, electronic parking brake, dual-zone climate control, a hands-free tailgate, a powered driver’s seat, and hands-free parking.  

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Going forward, Citroen also has a compact-SUV for India in the pipeline. Citroen is in fact banking on this car to be their volume seller in India. It will be based on the brand’s ‘C-Cubed’ program and will actually be a made-in-India product with high levels of localization. In fact, Citroen intends to achieve 90-95% localization with this compact SUV and that would allow them to introduce the car in market at around Rs 7 lakh, a genuine mass market product.