As part of its ‘C-Cubed’ programme – to launch three vehicles with an international focus by 2024 – Citroën has entrusted part of the design and development of its New C3 to local teams in India and South America, two growing markets that will be the first to receive the vehicle in 2022.
Incorporating knowledge of the two regions’ society, culture and needs makes New C3 a model designed, developed, and produced by and for India and South America.
“Ensuring Citroën’s future requires a greater international presence, by becoming stronger in all the markets in which we operate, including South America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and China, and by opening up to new ones, including India, which will soon become the third-largest market in the world.
"We are rolling out an ambitious product plan in order to achieve this, which will see the launch of three internationally-oriented models in three years. Models designed, developed and produced in strategic regions and which will fully represent Citroën’s identity in terms of style and on-board peace-of-mind.
"New C3 is a vital part of this international ramp-up and the first stage of this growth strategy. This hatchback, less than 4m long, is aimed at a major segment in India and South America. Modern, connected and tailored to local use, it is perfectly placed to support Citroën’s growth.”
Vincent Cobée – Citroën Global CEO
A PROGRAMME TO FULLY RESPOND TO EACH MARKET’S EXPECTATIONS
New C3 marks the start of a new chapter for Citroën, with the creation of models that are both faithful to the spirit of the brand, as well as carefully researched and developed with local teams in order to provide a practical response to specific market needs in India and South America.
New C3 is the first model from the ‘C-Cubed’ programme launched in 2019 – a plan to launch three vehicles with an international focus by 2024, based on three key criteria: the creation of a competitive and market-leading offering with strong styling, a Citroën experience designed for on-board comfort, and a design approach tailored to the specific needs of its target markets.
These future Citroën models will be produced in the relevant regions with a high level of local integration, reflecting Citroën's commitment to these regions and a strategy aimed at controlling costs in order to offer models faithful to the mainstream positioning of the brand: modern, high-quality vehicles with attractive styling and equipment, as well as efficient running costs and an affordable purchase price.
“C3 is our brand’s name for all of our B-segment hatchbacks around the world, but it doesn’t mean it’s the same model everywhere. This New C3 differs from the European version as its design has been inspired by the countries in question, in order to offer a unique solution that fully conveys the Citroën identity.
“Purchasing a car is a major investment for customers and our ambition as a mainstream brand is to offer a modern, prestigious model offering a high level specification for the price at the very forefront of the market. In general terms, the challenge we set ourselves was to strike a balance to provide everything customers need, while keeping the price range competitive.
“To achieve this, local teams from each market were fully involved in the design, development and production of the New C3.”
Vincent Cobée – Citroën Global CEO
DEVELOPING IN A NEW MARKET: INDIA
India is a new market for Citroën and one with significant potential – it is set to become the third largest automotive market in the world. The brand announced its arrival in 2019 and launched its first import model at the start of 2021 – Citroën C5 Aircross SUV. As a new market player, Citroën is initially focusing on large metropolitan areas through a customer experience based on its growing network and innovative services, as well as its highly digital presence.
Citroën products are positioned at the forefront of the Indian market, thanks to a strategy focused on high-levels of local integration (more than 90%) that is based on the two joint venture agreements between the Stellantis Group and the CK Birla Group (car assembly and distribution, and powertrain manufacturing).
The automotive market in India is growing rapidly and is expected to reach over four million cars sold annually by 2025. B-segment hatchbacks represent nearly 23% of this market. Buying a car is the second most important purchase after a house and it symbolises social success and a strong aspiration towards greater independence and mobility.
With its assertive design, New C3 will appeal to customers for whom a car is a reflection of their personality. Vehicle customisation is a strong expectation in the Indian market. In addition, New C3’s compactness (less than 4m long, enabling it to fall into a lower tax band), agility, versatility, on-board space, comfort and connectivity will improve the experience in congested traffic conditions, which can sometimes be difficult, while adapting to each individual's lifestyle.
New C3, which will be produced in Chennai, will be aimed at married couples in their thirties from the emerging middle class, who will be value conscious and in search for something unique. Their chosen vehicle must be attractive and modern with innovative options for connecting to the family's smartphones, while reflecting their tastes and their personality.
STRENGTHENING CITROËN'S POSITION IN SOUTH AMERICA
Citroën has a much more established presence in South America, dating back to the 1960s. Citroën’s objective today is to gain a firmer foothold in this market, with modern products, in step with customer aspirations. C4 Cactus is produced in Brazil and embodies Citroën’s positioning in the country and in its neighbour, Argentina, with its daring style and unrivalled comfort.
New C3 will also be produced in Porto Real in Brazil, symbolising a real rejuvenation in the region, with its modern styling, connectivity and high levels of comfort. The B-Hatch segment accounts for nearly 30% of the total market in Brazil and nearly 26% in Argentina (data: full year 2020).
The versatility and positioning of New C3 will ensure greater coverage of the segment (in Brazil, New C3 will cover 90% of the segment’s needs, compared with 40% for the former model, while in Argentina New C3 is set to cover 75% of the segment’s needs, up from 50%). New C3 will be aimed at active couples in their forties, married and with two children, looking for a high-quality, versatile and spacious car for short everyday journeys and weekend getaways. It will also appeal to independent and active single people in their thirties, living in cities and with a slightly higher-than-average monthly income, looking for a vehicle that is elegant, robust and safe.
NEW C3: A TYPICAL CITROËN IDENTITY AND EXPERIENCE
A HATCHBACK WITH A MODERN AND ROBUST STYLE
In terms of design, the brief called for an architecture taking into account specific local needs, including robustness, along with modern lines that burst with vitality.
Compact, at less than 4m long, New C3’s unique style is immediately apparent from its distinctive shape, characterised by the high position of the bonnet and a front end structured to reinforce the impression of width.
New C3 features the same signature front end design language found on Citroën’s most recent models, including New C4 and New C5 X. It features a dual-stage light signature, with the double chevrons that become chrome bars and continue across the width of the vehicle to the headlights and separate to form a Y on each side. The headlights are made up of two separate elements with the position lights, indicators and daytime running lights on the upper level and, on the lower level, the low beam and high beam units, with a light guide at the top and another at the bottom. The rear light signature is also prominent and echoes the two horizontal lines visible on the front end, which form a triangle.
NEW C3 IS INSPIRED BY SUVs TO MEET THE NEEDS OF TOUGH ROAD CONDITIONS
New C3 stands out for its specific SUV attributes, including a driving position that is one of the highest in the segment.
Its front end combines strength and protection, featuring a high bonnet that is robust without being aggressive. Depending on the region, the front end is reinforced by a fairing – also found at the rear – and protective scuff plates.
The side view is also inspired by SUVs and gives New C3 a modern personality. The sides of the vehicle are muscular, set off by protective panels sculpted into the bodywork, combined with wheel arches that give the vehicle a more imposing presence. The large wheels, high ground clearance (180mm) and short overhangs help to cope with poor road surfaces and to avoid damaging the vehicle. New C3 is an invitation to get behind the wheel of a prestigious vehicle that is much more than a traditional hatchback.
The sculpted surfaces of the rear end, continuing on from the lights, visually expand the silhouette echoing those found on New C3 Aircross.
ARCHITECTURE DESIGNED AND ADAPTED FOR THE REGIONS
The higher ground clearance, compared to a traditional hatchback (an extra 110mm), was designed to avoid damaging the vehicle on rough roads.
The approach angle (at the front) and departure angle (at the rear), between the ground and the vehicle overhangs, have been meticulously studied and the bodywork adjusted to prevent it touching the ground in the event of a steep slope, rough surface or obstacle in the road.
India, as an example, has 5.5 million kilometres (3.4 million miles) of road network, the second largest in the world. However, 40% of roads are unsurfaced. Citroën has taken this factor into account when designing New C3, by working on ground clearance and approach angles, and incorporating features to protect the bodywork. In South America, the fact that pavements are particularly high influenced the vehicle’s bumper design. All this insight and input was provided by local teams in the regions.
New C3 deliberately has a steeply raked bonnet to ensure very good visibility, which is useful when dealing with heavy traffic in large Indian or South American cities. The high position of the driver’s seat is another feature further enhancing external visibility.
Citroën has ensured that New C3 is at the forefront of its segment in terms of value for money. This is why every last square-centimetre has been optimised to include as many functions as possible while optimising the vehicle’s price. This sturdy and reliable car is also economical to drive – an important consideration in these markets.
NEW C3 EMPHASISES CUSTOMISATION
New C3 offers a varied and refreshing range of colours, as well as a catalogue of accessories designed for each region, allowing the vehicle to be enhanced and personalised. The choice of colours, as well as the various finishes, were selected by local teams in order to closely match customer preferences in each market.
New C3 has two-tone bodywork, with a clear border between the body and the roof to offer customers a wider range of combinations. Eleven customisation variants are available in India, including single-tone and two-tone, with 13 on offer in South America.
Four body colours are available in India (Ice White, Platinium Grey, Artense Grey and Zesty Orange) and five in South America (Ice White, Perla Nera Black, Grafito Grey, Artense Grey and Spring Blue), as well as two roof colours in India (Artense Grey or Zesty Orange) and two in Latin America (White or Black).
New C3 is a “Chameleon”, offering a wide range of accessories designed for each market. Customers have the choice to decorate their vehicle as they see fit, with parts that can be added or removed. A more or less extensive catalogue of accessories will be available depending on market sensitivity. This could include: chrome parts for a chic look, decorative elements to add individual character to the vehicle, a choice of eight seat covers, functional equipment for the passenger compartment, a sound system, smartphone connectivity, as well as protective features.
DESIGN PROMOTING SPACIOUSNESS AND ON-BOARD COMFORT
New C3 has been designed to offer an easy and pleasant experience on-board. Occupants must be comfortable, have room for their personal belongings and remain connected while listening to their favourite music, using their smartphone as they would in their living room to avoid interrupting their social life – all parts of a brief that is fully met with New C3.
When entering New C3, the horizontal dashboard instantly gives an impression of space. This sense of well-being is reinforced by the accommodating seats, the numerous storage compartments and the driving position.
New C3 is 3.98m long – very important in India, where vehicles are taxed based on length – but remains extraordinarily spacious.
The cabin space inside New C3 is designed to be generous. It comfortably accommodates up to five people, which is an essential point for customers in this segment. In terms of its architecture, the long wheelbase of 2.54m reflects the impressive interior space. It offers passengers in the second row amongst the best leg room in the segment (653mm). The front seats give occupants the best elbow room (1,418mm) and market-leading headroom (991mm).
Citroën comfort is also evident in the choice of the shape, width and thickness of the seats, which further improve comfort on-board.
New C3 has numerous practical storage compartments – including a 315-litre boot, which is one of the most generous in the segment – a 1-litre glove box, two 2-litre door pockets at the front that can accommodate a 1-litre bottle along with other objects, two 1-litre door pockets at the rear, two cup holders and a storage compartment in the central console, as well as two cup holders in the rear that can become smartphone holders.
Particularly clever storage has been incorporated into the design, including a pen tray for storing small objects. Placed beneath the dashboard, this useful feature also echoes the colour of the decor (orange in India and blue in Latin America).
A CAR CONNECTED TO ITS TIME AND DESIGNED FOR SMARTPHONE USERS
The 10-inch (26cm) capacitive touchscreen is the largest in the segment and stands out from the dashboard, making it more visible and easier to use. It offers a Mirror Screen function that displays the driver’s smartphone apps on the touchscreen. Compatible with Apple CarPlayTM and Android Auto, New C3 features the latest smartphone connectivity technology, allowing drivers and passengers to stay connected even when on the move. Finally, the steering wheel controls are designed to be extremely comfortable in terms of ergonomics and safety.
By studying the behaviour of Indian and South American customers when using new technologies, Citroën has taken integration of mobile phones with New C3 to a new level by creating brand-new dedicated equipment to make life easier for users. This includes creating a specific position for the driver to place their mobile phone in the central console, three special locations (two near the air vents at each end of the dashboard and another near the central vents) for attaching clamps to hold a smartphone, quick-charge USB sockets (one at the front and two at the rear), a 12V socket and a storage cavity between the first row seats accessible to rear passengers and created specifically to avoid damaging the mobile phone cable.
Everything has been thought out, right down to the channel to conceal the charging cable at the bottom of the pen tray. Two clips have been incorporated on either side of the heating controls to guide the cables of two smartphones (the driver’s and the passenger’s) to the USB and 12V sockets. There are also two attachments inside the glove compartment to hold rolled up cables.
A CAR TAILORED TO ALL ROADS AND MARKETS
The high driving position and steeply raked bonnet ensure enhanced visibility, while its long wheelbase ensures a high level of stability. The suspension has also been adapted to the driving conditions of each market.
Particularly agile thanks to its 10.20m turning circle, New Citroën C3 is optimal for urban areas and is easy to manoeuvre and park thanks its compact shape. Agility is a key requirement for countries like India where U-turns are common.
With modern and efficient engines, adapted to specific needs in each region, New C3 will meet all drivers’ mobility needs. Engine details for each region will be communicated at a later date.
Citroën is increasingly expanding its international presence, including the design of models specifically developed for high-growth markets such as India and South America. New C3 is the best example of this, designed in collaboration with India and Latin America and produced and distributed locally.
New C3 will be launched in the first half of 2022 to expand the Citroën range in India and strengthen its position in South America, specifically in Brazil and in Argentina – two markets that each have their own specific characteristics and customer expectations.
India recently opened the ultra-modern Chennai plant, eventually set to boast an annual production capacity of 100,000 vehicles. Other Latin American countries will also welcome New C3, including Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru and Ecuador.
In order to offer a relaxing and modern customer experience, each region will develop its own specific range of solutions in terms of online sales, customisation, connected services and aftersales. Details of these services will be provided in the near future.