PSA boss tells Autocar that DS is just two years into a 30-year plan

DS’s future strategy will not change despite dramatic sales declines around the world in 2017, according to PSA Group boss Carlos Tavares.

Last year, DS — the French firm’s answer to the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz — recorded a fall in sales in every region bar one, resulting in an overall 38.5% decrease from 85,981 cars in 2016 to 52,860 in 2017.

The declines were greatest in the China and south-east Asia region, where sales fell 63.1%. Meanwhile, sales dropped 45.2% in the India and Pacific, 34.1% in Europe, 20.8% in Eurasia and 9.6% in the Middle East and Africa.

Only Latin America grew in sales, by 21.6%, but that market accounted for just 1304 unit sales.

However, Tavares insisted that the declines were largely a result of the decision by PSA — which is made up of Citroën, DS, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhall — to cut back dramatically on discounting and bulk sales as it attempts to strengthen DS's residual values and build a more premium brand image.

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“This is a 30-year project, and we still have 28 of those years left in which to achieve our goals,” he said. “Creating an automotive brand built around the concept of French luxury will take time and requires consistency of direction that we are still building.

“2017 was about getting our pricing power to the right place; putting the foundations in for the residual values that help define a premium brand. We have the pricing power going where we want it now and the new product to support the strategy is coming.”

Tavares highlighted the initial sales popularity of the new 7 Crossback as an example of the progress DS is making.

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He continued: “Last year, the average age of the cars we were selling was between five and six years. With the DS 7, we are starting a new life. It is the first DS car engineering from scratch to be a premium car; it features great technology, interior quality, external design and more.

“The quality of the product sells the car. Deliveries of DS 7 are exactly what we expected; nearly 4000 cars in the first few weeks. Our retailers and sales people are excited, and this is just the starting point.

“Yes, last year was disappointing in sales terms, but it has put us in a better place to deliver the long-term strategy. We are at the start of a journey and we will launch a new model every year to build the brand. With consistency will come success.”

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Comments
9

11 May 2018

Applied luxury is unlikely going to work. Take a standard Citroen and embellish it with luxury items does not make an identifiable brand. Luxury has to be designed from the ground up, as in Rolls Royce.

That's why Maybach is now reduced to a Mercedes trim level. Vanden Plas, Vignale etc. are all trim levels to squeeze most money from customers. DS as the top trim level for Citroen might work, DS as a brand isn't going to.

11 May 2018
abkq wrote:

Applied luxury is unlikely going to work. Take a standard Citroen and embellish it with luxury items does not make an identifiable brand. Luxury has to be designed from the ground up, as in Rolls Royce.

That's why Maybach is now reduced to a Mercedes trim level. Vanden Plas, Vignale etc. are all trim levels to squeeze most money from customers. DS as the top trim level for Citroen might work, DS as a brand isn't going to.

 

Quite right. An Audi Q5 is miles ahead of a DS7 in terms of drivetrain, platform and chassis. But then white label operations the world over make money - no one seems to care that their Polo aftershave or Gucci watch is actually a commodity product.

11 May 2018

But why was DS launched with an inept range of badged Citroen models that were heavily discounted and sold in bulk to fleets? I think Lexus proved that you can do it in much less than 30 years if you launch with a single strong product and slowly expand.

Maybe it would have been easier for PSA to just rescue Citroen which already has great herritage but lacks direction and current premium product?  It already has Peugeot and Opel to take care of the less interesting volume stuff.      

11 May 2018

They've the hopless and outdated DS4, DS5 both of which sell next to nothing and the aging DS3 which falls month by month. Nothing is in the pipeline and sales of DS7 are very poor, remember it's been on sale in Europe for months not weeks Mr Taraves. How else could total sales be 52k when the DS3 is the majority of them 

 

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

11 May 2018

they really need to focus and get at least 1 good halo product

Sadly they have failed at doing that with the DS7 from what I have seen & heard.

if I was them I would try to do something like the original DS, i.e. technologically advanced, beautiful design and interesting.

so far they have just been oddly worse versions of the Citroen equivalent (the Citroen one has hydraulic system from what I heard)

11 May 2018

I believe we need to re-think our idea of 'premium' or 'luxury'. In many cases we accept them as being a mainstream product with a posh badge, and not just cars either, and i see no reason why, if the products are convincing enough, why PSA cant do the same with DS.

But the products are not good enough. As has been said the average age of the existing models is too old, and bar the DS7, they were once all sold as Citroens. The other big issue is personalisation. Most, if not all premium products allow personalisation, but in the case of the DS range its just not possible. Want a petrol engine and manual box, mostly its not possible, want a powerful version, again, no. Dont want 'ugly kid' Privacy glass, again, tough. The list goes on...........

These are OLD, mainstream cars with mainstream engines, and mainstream options. That is not premium or luxury, and until this changes no one will take them seriously. They need their money back from who ever gave them brand advice.   

11 May 2018
artill wrote:

As has been said the average age of the existing models is too old, and bar the DS7, they were once all sold as Citroens.    

 

Er, no. The DS5 has a completely unique body and interior. On a C4 platform with C4 engines and gearboxes, yes, but then Audis are all on VW platforms.

11 May 2018

Within a space of a few years PSA felt that DS could move on from being a sub-brand of Citroen to a stand alone premium brand to take on the likes of Alfa, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Infiniti with initially a range of cars that started of life with a Citroen badge on them. While also having some half-baked unique DS models sold in some specific markets only. And succeed on all fronts too. I'd like to know what type of drugs PSA management were on at the time. It took Lexus and Infiniti years absolutely years to become what they are now while PSA thought they could do it within a fraction of than time. It has overtones of Daimler when they felt they could simply stick a Maybach badge on a car that looked and felt like a Mercedes, and indeed was originally going to be called the Mercedes Maybach, and go head to head with Rolls Royce and Bentley.

11 May 2018

53000 cars sold last year is a pathetic number , when you consider it's over a range of models, the majority of which are in the volume sector. 

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