French brand Citroën is targeting growth outside of Europe with a bold plan to capture a share of the developing Indian and South American markets, starting with an affordable rugged supermini: the 'New C3'.
The brand is aiming for 30% of its sales to be outside of Europe by the middle of this decade and is ramping up its presence in high-growth markets. India, for example, is projected to become the third-largest automotive market in the world with four million car sales a year by 2025.
Citroen's New Citroen C3 has been especially designed with a focus on affordability, durability and agility, because it is destined for use primarily in regions with challenging road surface and traffic conditions, compared with what the urban-oriented C3 faces in Citroën's Europe home market.
Although it occupies a similar footprint to the C3 available here, at 3980mm long and with a wheelbase of 2540mm, it has been styled with influence from larger SUVs and, as a result, more closely resembles the C3 Aircross. Crucially, at just under four metres in overall length, the New C3 is eligible for a lower tax rate in India, where excise duty is calculated according to size.
With raised suspension and large-diameter 25in tyres giving 180mm of ground clearance, and short overhangs allowing for favourable approach and departure angles, the New C3 offers a higher driving position than its European counterpart and can avoid underbody damage on rough surfaces. The rugged styling is functional as well as aesthetic: Citroën noted that the pavements in South America are particularly high so took extra measures to protect the mechanicals.
The New C3 is the first of three 'C-Cubed' cars created specifically for developing markets and will have a tangible styling influence on its range-mates, which will adopt a similar rugged ethos.
Inside, the New C3 offers a familiarly functional layout and majors on comfort and storage. It has five seats and a 315-litre boot and rear passengers get 653mm of leg room - the highest in the segment, Citroën says. Despite its value focus, the New C3 gets a 10.0in infotainment touchscreen with smartphone-mirroring functionality and comes equipped with various cubbies and charging facilities in recognition of the growing ubiquity of smartphones.