Yves Bonnefont, chief executive of premium brand DS, has no desire to chase the huge sales volumes enjoyed by sister brands Citroën and Peugeot
20 January 2016

DS boss Yves Bonnefont has predicted that the new French brand can grow to account for roughly 10% of the PSA Peugeot Citroën group’s total global sales within a decade, equating to about 300,000 cars per year.

But the chief executive warned that he isn’t interested in chasing the large sales volumes enjoyed by stablemates Citroën and Peugeot at the expense of cultivating the brand's image for premium and luxury vehicles.

The car brand, spun off from Citroën in 2014 to act as a premium marque for PSA, last year accounted for 3.5% of PSA’s global sales. The group sold a total of 2,973,000 vehicles in 2015. 

The launch of the DS 3 in Paris yesterday marked the completion of DS’s split from Citroën. The European DS models – DS 3DS 4DS 4 Crossback and DS 5 – will continue to represent the brand until six all-new global models, including the brand’s first SUV, are rolled out between 2018 and 2022.

 

Speaking at the launch of the new DS 3, Bonnefont said DS needed to grow carefully. “What’s the right size for DS?” he said. “I am not going to manage DS by volume, because the minute you start [doing that] is the same minute you make it not premium.

Bonnefont said he was not obliged by the PSA executive board to measure DS’s performance in terms of sales: “I am managing this brand by setting the right foundations for the future, positioning the brand where it should be so that our customers are proud of it.

“If you look at the premium market globally, it accounts for about 10-15% of the total car market. I think DS in 10 years from now could represent 10% of the global volume of the PSA group, but we have a lot of work to do.”

DS is focusing its sales efforts in 200 of the world’s biggest cities, Bonnefont said. “We’re building our brand with two pillars, Europe and China,” he added. “We have set our development plan and we are very systematic in opening DS stores in the cities. We are executing this plan but we don’t want to go too fast.”

DS cars are being sold in three ways: via standalone DS Stores, through branded DS ‘salons’ within Citroën dealerships and in standard showrooms, where Citroën and DS models sit side by side without definition between the brands.

Our Verdict

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The convertible DS3 hot hatchback is fast and decent to drive, but its price tag is far too high

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Comments
6

20 January 2016

“What’s the right size for DS?” he said. “I am not going to manage DS by volume, because the minute you start [doing that] is the same minute you make it not premium." Translation: I would give my right arm to have the sales volumes enjoyed by BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Unfortunately, we haven't a prayer with the crummy range of cars we are currently selling, so we'll spin it that our small sales volumes equates to exclusivity, never mind the fact that the ubiquity of the C-Class and 3 Series are doesn't seem to harm their manufacurers' a jot."

20 January 2016

Absolutely right. The "new" DS does not exist outside the pea-brains of Citroen managers. It is a fiction and the antithesis of everything the original DS represented. Actually, Mercedes usually sells more of the much-larger C Class in two months than the DS3 sells in an entire year. So things are already proceeding exactly to plan for "DS" and their small-volume paradigm. This would be very much in keeping with PSA itself, which is nothing more than a social security system, propped up by the French state, which happens to make a few cars now and again.

21 January 2016

Th fact that LMVH isn't bidding to buy PSA tells you all you need to know about the likelihood of the French being perceived as luxury carmakers.

20 January 2016

I wonder when they will add luxuries like winddown rear windows?

20 January 2016

The DS range seems to me to be unable to tell its own story unless and until it creates a modern true DS that carries the style, evolved design, innovation and DNA of the original car. The best there is in Europe, the DS5, isn't close.

20 January 2016

Fifty years or so ago Citroen was a prestige marque,it's cars were technically very advanced, distinctively styled and had a devoted following. This was built up over decades and when the company was taken over by Peugeot it's distinction was diluted and the cars became a value brand for PSA. DS is still appears to me nothing more than gussied up versions of PSA vehicles, to emphasize the point if you couldn't sell the excellent C6, how the hell are you going to sell these overpriced turkeys

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