The DS brand has officially separated from parent company Citroen, with the reworked DS5 launched at the Geneva motor show.
The firm has also revealed its new strap line: “Spirit of Avant Garde.” The brand says it wants to “achieve a true upmarket comeback for the French automotive industry”.
Aimed at a new generation of fashion-conscious buyers, and with a focus on personalisation, DS models will eventually be sold through a network of stores and ‘salons’ in up to 200 cities, including those in the UK.
Celebrating the launch of the new brand, DS revealed a concept car based on the facelifted DS5, dubbed Moon Dust. The concept features new chrome exterior trim, a lightly reprofiled front grille and new brown leather trim inside. DS says the Moon Dust concept is powered by the same diesel-electric powertrain as the Hybrid 4x4 DS5.
Also on display in Geneva is a modified version of the DS 21 Pallas, which was first launched in 1955 and celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, as well as the Divine DS concept car.
Although DS is already recognised as a stand-alone brand in China, company officials say the firm’s launch in the UK will be phased in slowly, with dwindling links to parent Citroën in the coming years. It’s expected that, in the short term, Citroën dealers will offer dedicated areas in their showrooms for DS products.
Around 500,000 DS models have been sold in Europe since the brand’s launch as part of Citroën in 2010. While officials won’t be drawn on future volume aspirations, sales are expected to grow thanks to an expanded model line-up that will eventually encompass six global models.
Autocar understands that alongside the current DS3, DS4 and DS5 models, DS will offer two SUVs, one large and one small, to take on Audi’s Q3 and Q5 models respectively. Inspiration for those models could come from the Wild Rubis concept and the DS 6WR. The latter is already on sale in China and shares its platform with the DS5.
At the very top of the range will be an Audi A8 competitor, with inspiration set to come from 2012’s DS9 concept.
DS officials have already said the brand won’t offer a smaller model than today’s DS3.
DS’s desire to take on Audi is nothing new. Last year PSA Peugeot Citroën boss Carlos Tavares said DS would look to specifically rival Audi by 2020, primarily by matching the German manufacturer’s appeal and exclusivity.
The separation and launch of DS as a solo brand forms part of PSA's 'back in the race' plan, announced in April last year.