French car maker Peugeot will put up its public face in India at the Auto Expo in New Delhi in January next year. Its stall will be located in proximity to that of Volkswagen (VW). The German manufacturer will be Peugeot’s closest competitor in India.
Peugeot hasn’t frozen on what cars to display. For certain, it will be showcasing the new 508 sedan. This model, which will compete with cars like the VW Passat, will be assembled at its 4,000-acre facility coming up at Sanand in Gujarat. The 508 will be assembled using completely knocked down kits.
Before the plant rolls out the first car in 2014, Peugeot will be importing cars from its international line-up into the country. In the process, it will be setting a dealership network, too. These completely built units will pave the way for the 508 into the country.
“We will be following a top-down strategy for India,” said Marc Bocque, world press and external relations manager, Peugeot. “Following the 508, we will be introducing a C-segment car and then a B+ model.” He was speaking to Business Standard on the sidelines of the Frankfurt Motor Show, where the 508 was among many models on display.
“We will aim for a localisation level of 70-80 per cent with our volume models. For that purpose, we will be setting up an engine and gearbox plant at Sanand as well,” said Bocque.
“These models are totally new and are being developed specifically with India in mind,” he said, but would not elaborate on the timelines or specifications of the upcoming models.
The Rs 4,000-crore Sanand facility will have an initial capacity of 170,000 cars a year. “The brand,” said Bocque, “will stand apart because of our emphasis on styling, our technological capabilities, especially with diesel engines, and reliability and quality.”