Currently reading: DS brand to prioritise plug-in hybrid tech over horsepower
PSA's premium brand to focus on hybrid technology; new DS3 Racing model also planned

The DS brand will not be drawn in to a horsepower race with its premium brand rivals, limiting outputs to around 300bhp, and then only when they are supplemented by hybrid systems, according to company boss Yves Bonnefont.

Speaking at the Shanghai motor show, Bonnefont said: “We are not building racing cars - a limit of 300bhp makes sense when you want to represent a balance of dynamics and comfort. Beyond that is a different universe, and that is not a territory we want to go to. DS should not be about brutal horsepower.”

As the premium brand within PSA Peugeot Citroen, Bonnefont expected the brand to showcase plug-in hybrid technology first. Although he wouldn’t be drawn on when this would happen, it is likely to be within 12 months.

“Hybrid technology can be used many ways, and one is to achieve 300bhp in an interesting manner,” he said. “Today you can combine three and four-cylinder engines with a hybrid system to deliver a lot of power. That is the sort of alliance of refinement and technology that sits perfectly with our core values for DS.”

However, Bonnefont confirmed that it is almost certain a new DS3 Racing will be made, following the launch of the new DS3 in 2016.

The 204bhp 1.6-litre turbo powered warm hatch sold well and drew a link between the road and rallying divisions of the brand, at a time when it was winning world championships with Sebastian Loeb in the WRC. “We’d be crazy not to continue the DS3 Racing story,” said Bonnefont.

Meanwhile, the PSA Group is assessing its motorsport involvement in order to work out how best to split its three brands. At present, Peugeot is focused on cross-country rallying, including the iconic Dakar event, Citroen competes in the World Touring Car Championship and DS runs cars in the World Rally Championship.

“Motorsport is very important to us and we will continue to operate there, but we are reviewing our options,” said Bonnefont.

“Motorsport says something about the brand - it gets people excited and it shows where we are heading. Whatever we do must have global appeal, though - we are a global brand and we want to promote ourselves that way.”

Read more Shanghai motor show news here.

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