Citroen’s luxury DS off-shoot will double the size of its global product portfolio before 2020, with the nascent brand keen to expand its range of style-driven vehicles.
Speaking with TMR at the Paris Motor Show, DS Vice President of Product Eric Apode said that the mid-term plan is to launch six new models over the next five years, including new versions of the existing DS3, DS4 and DS5.
“What we announce is that in the future, in the next coming years, we will launch six different cars,” Apode told TMR.
“Today in Europe and Australia we have three cars. In the future we will have six. We will also double the number of segments we cover.”
“Before 2020, we will have this complete lineup all over the world," he said.
And though the DS6 WR and DS5 LS are China-only offerings (built on PSA’s outgoing PF2 platform), Apode says that the eventual goal is to have the entire DS product range available globally.
Exact details on future DS models - which will also see the range's DS branding split away from the Citroen chevrons - have yet to be announced.
We can, however, expect the DS3, DS4 and DS5 lines to continue, along with at least one SUV model.
“In the future we will merge the two [Chinese and European] line-ups to have only one range for global needs,” he said.
“We found that the Chinese market was totally different, totally specific from the rest of the world, and we believed that DS3, DS4 and DS5 would not be completely suited to customer needs in China."
“That’s why we decided to create one specific DS5 - or DS5 LS - which has been sold very successfully since last year, and a new SUV which has been launched last weekend in Beijing."
“We think these will also help us grow in other regions of the world.”
DS For the US? Non Merci
Citroen may be planning to grow the DS brand's presence around the world, but North America won’t be one of those regions.
The company will focus on establishing footholds in existing Peugeot-Citroen markets using existing dealer networks, Apode told TMR.
This means that, with both PSA brands still absent from North America, DS won’t be heading to the US or Canada any time soon.
PSA’s strategy for DS is to focus on the 200 wealthiest cities that already have a Citroen presence, spread across roughly 90 countries.
“Today what we are trying to do is to focus and accelerate where we are strong already,” Apode said.
“As you know, neither Peugeot and Citroen are present in Northern America, so we don’t want to focus too much time and energy on North America."
“Maybe in the future, why not. Of course it’s a key premium market, but today, no, it’s not in our plans.”
Australia is a key part of that plan, though, and with the original Citroen DS having previously been assembled in Heidelberg, Victoria, our country’s history with DS stretches back a long way.
DS models will continue to be sold from Citroen showrooms, however, with no immediate plans to launch DS-only dealers.
Though new PSA Group Chairman Carlos Tavares is on the record as saying that the DS brand could potentially become an Audi rival by 2020, Apode was more circumspect and eager to emphasise that DS products offer a different approach to luxury.
“It’s key to explain what we think and what we want to do. Clearly DS is not another premium brand that we’ve decided to build from scratch,” he said.
“We said: we have heritage and a long history with the DS dating back to 1955… so in 2010, we said we’ll create a new brand based on this heritage."
Apode said that Citroen's plan for DS meant a commitment to the badge's history. "We have four key values that we are believe in: style, technology, comfort and materials," he said.
“We don’t just use any kind of materials, we only use the best kinds of materials. Take for example our leather. The leather we use on DS is also used by Aston Martin, but we are the only [full-volume] manufacturer that can use it."
“DS is not a premium brand like BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz. It’s our own vision, it’s our own strategy."
“We could summarise that we’re all about “Luxury from Paris”. That’s our credo, that’s our manifesto.”