French car manufacturer Peugeot on Thursday initiated its first entry into India by performing ‘Bhoomi-Poojan' (ground-breaking) ceremony for its maiden plant at Sanand on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. French Consul General in Mumbai J. R. Peytregnet was specially present on the occasion. The Rs.4,000-crore unit, spread over some 600 acres, including a vendors' park, would be situated adjacent to the Tata's Nano car project. The Peugeot plant would have the capacity to produce 1.70 lakh cars annually by 2014 with a provision to double the capacity by 2018.

According to Vincent Rambaud, Director General of Peugeot, the Sanand plant would be its first venture outside Europe.

Mr. Rambaud pointed out that in 2010 and in the first half of the current year, Peugeot broke ‘historical world sales record' but 46 per cent of it was outside Europe. He was confident that Peugeot, which had a ‘zero' presence in India at present, would soon be able to establish in the domestic market, particularly targeting the upper-middle class segment. Mr. Rambaud said the company would manufacture premium model cars for richer segments at a later stage. Mr. Rambaud said the cars to be manufactured in India would be primarily for consumption locally with only a small part of it to be exported to countries having right-hand the driving system like India. He also maintained that at least 80 per cent of its 5,000 strong staff would be recruited locally.