Peugeot gears up for 2nd innings

PSA Peugeot-Citroen, Europe's second-biggest automaker, is set to re-enter the Indian market as it eyes a foothold in one of the world's fastest-growing market. The French company, though being an early entrant to India, had moved out in the late 1990s following a dispute with the then local partner, Premier Automobiles (now Premier). However, the lucrative numbers in India and the high potential, at a time of slow demand in key European markets, has prompted the company to accelerate its plans here. Peugeot-Citroen has said it wants to focus on India, as it has done with China, where sales surged 38% last year and market share stood at 3.3%Peugeot-Citroen's focus in India also stems from its ambition of realising higher numbers from outside Europe. It has set a target to reach a share of 50% of sales from outside Europe by 2015, compared to 39% in 2010. The company would start its new innings in India with a mid-sized car. This, it said, will be the “first step” for the fresh push into a market where it has long been absent, missing out on the boom that happened over last few years. Volkswagen, PSA's rival has already expanded in a big way in the Indian market and started a factory near Pune with an investment of close to Rs 3800 crore. Peugeot-Citroen is understood to be in advanced stage of finalising a site for its factory, where it is also expected to make heavy investments. Sources say the locations shortlisted are one near Chennai in Tamil Nadu and the other in a SEZ (Sri City) in Andhra Pradesh, which is close to Chennai.

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