Blog: Dave LeggettCitroen goes local with Aircross in Brazil

Dave Leggett | 12 April 2010

For all the talk of convergence towards the 'global consumer' it is interesting to note the differences that persist. And you can see that in the auto industry where differing vehicle operating environments (things like taxes, costs of fuel, prevailing road conditions, distances travelled) and cultural nuances across the world mean that car companies still tweak 'standard' global products for local needs or indeed offer completely different vehicles in some markets.

An example of 'glocalisation' – a global product strategy tweaked for local market needs – emerged in Brazil last week. Citroen has developed a local version of its C3 Picasso that gives the car an off-road flavour. Our local correspondent down there says that this sort of compact SUV treatment has become popular in Brazil. If Citroen can make a bigger margin on such a car by making some largely cosmetic changes, then it's clearly a smart move.

It's not a serious mud-plugger, but so what? How many Land Rovers actually get their complicated off-road engineering and undoubted capability seriously tested? Some do, but many don't. Same goes for that gleaming Ferrari I passed yesterday in the roadworks tootling along at 50mph, just like everyone else. The driver is getting something more than simply the vehicle's high performance capabilities.

The key thing is this: is the customer happy? Whether the customer is in Beijing, Birmingham or Brazil, that's what the car company has to set out to achieve on the back of a business model that turns a profit. And to do that local knowledge is as important as ever.

We may well live in a global village that seems to be getting smaller, with ease and efficiency of communication improving all the time, but big differences in market wants persist. Getting the right mix of standard component sets and modules that leverage global volume while at the same time offering distinct products for particular market needs is still the big challenge.

BRAZIL: PSA reveals 'off road' Citroen C3 Picasso, eyes popular car segment


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