French manufacturer plots premium SUVs, saloons and hatchbacks as part of ambitious DS growth plan
Richard Bremner Autocar
5 September 2014

Yves Bonnefont, chief executive of Citroën's DS brand, has said that the brand will eventually feature six models, a doubling of the three currently offered in Europe.

Speaking at the unveiling of the Divine DS at PSA’s design studio in Paris, Bonnefont said: "We created the DS brand in June. Our ambition is to generate growth by developing the product range – in the mid-term to have six models – which will be the same in all regions."

That’s in contrast to today’s global DS line-up, which includes three models specific to China, an SUV among them. The eventual aim is to offer identical models globally.

Bonnfont did not reveal what the six models would be, but another source suggested that they would include a large and a small SUV, a large and a small saloon car, a replacement for the DS3 hatchback and a new C-segment model that could effectively replace today’s DS4 and DS5.

That the Divine DS is a stylish, premium C-segment hatchback may be significant, although its creators says that it does not hint at a specific model.

Bonnefont also revealed the key attributes of the DS brand, which include "avant-garde design – this is very strong, visible technology that buyers are proud to own, and refinement".

When asked about the brand’s dynamic character, Bonnefont cited "the balance between comfort and dynamism – we want to be a reference in the market for this".

He said that he "could not disclose" whether Hydractive fluid suspension might be used, but added that "the field of comfort is part of the DS DNA and very important".

DS also plans to harness "the know-how of the French luxury houses" to develop the brand’s premium positioning, said Bonnefont.

They are working with Swarovski to develop production-applicable décor, the jewellery and fashion house contributing to the Divine DS concept, while embroidery company Maison Lasage has worked for the first time on an automotive project with the DS Divine.

Asked whether the DS brand would get its own technical centre within the PSA group, Bonnefont said that: "several brands can share the know-how of the group. But we have a dedicated DS product team defining what the car should be, and also a dedicated testing team.

"So at the beginning and the end of the process there are dedicated teams. There are about 50 people and we call them the Commando group".

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Our Verdict

DS4

The DS 4 is a high-riding hatchback, but for all its maker's claims to the contrary, its too much like the standard C4

5 September 2014
>He said that he "could not disclose" whether Hydractive fluid suspension might be used, but added that "the field of comfort is part of the DS DNA and very important".

This is an odd statement since the one thing the DS4 and DS5 are noted for is their lousy ride comfort, which comes from the use of crude platforms with simple rear axles. To me the DS concept has already gone badly wrong after the great start of the DS3. But gain, that was a sporty car and ride comfort was hardly a priority.
I doubt we'll see Hydropneumatic suspension on future Citroëns, alas, because it doesn't really have any great advantage these days. And you can have great ride comfort with steel springs, as everyone but Citroen (except in the Cactus and new Picasso perhaps ) is starting to prove.

5 September 2014
androo wrote:

>He said that he "could not disclose" whether Hydractive fluid suspension might be used, but added that "the field of comfort is part of the DS DNA and very important".

This is an odd statement since the one thing the DS4 and DS5 are noted for is their lousy ride comfort, which comes from the use of crude platforms with simple rear axles. To me the DS concept has already gone badly wrong after the great start of the DS3. But gain, that was a sporty car and ride comfort was hardly a priority.
I doubt we'll see Hydropneumatic suspension on future Citroëns, alas, because it doesn't really have any great advantage these days. And you can have great ride comfort with steel springs, as everyone but Citroen (except in the Cactus and new Picasso perhaps ) is starting to prove.

I don't think that the lousy ride is down to their crude platforms and simple rear axles as the new Citroen Cactus proves which is effectively the same. It is down to tuning of the suspension. I don't think that hydractive suspension is in keeping with the DS brand as they are supposedly more about sporty handling (hence poor ride) The hydro supension is more fit for the standard C-line range. However with Citroen's policy to simplify the C-Line I cannot see them using here either.... I doubt if we will see a Citroen C5 anymore either as it doesn't sell very well.. Unfortunately this may have been Citroen's USP but I cannot see how it fits in any more in their line-up. A bit like the Land-Rover Defender which when that ends next year is likely to be replaced by a LandRover Evoque clone - another example of a brand throwing its heritage away...

5 September 2014
Good thinking. I do hope that the DS3 replacement will include a five door version to replace the C3 and that other models will also replace the C4 and C5 in all their versions.

5 September 2014
The Devine is really different, and very appealing. Unfortunately the article says they are not going to make it. Showing what you can do with a concept car, then watering it down and taking all the appeal away happens far too often in the car industry. No current DS model interests me, The Devine does. It looks good inside and out.

5 September 2014
An Alfa rogered by an Audi. But the gall of the man! Citroën and comfort are two words that have drifted unnaturally apart. Get shot of low profile tyres and learn what you forgot a decade ago: LHM.

5 September 2014
As much I enjoyed our now departed DS3, one thing it didn't have was a good ride. Was that important to me at the time? No. But seeing what can achieved from a more overtly sporting set-up in our new car, which trounces the ride in the Citroen, makes me think the budget ran out after the styling. Citroen need to rediscover ride comfort to go with niche styling of the DS range to have ensure lasting market share.


5 September 2014
i find it difficult to believe that people who are supposedly car enthusiasts are saying citroen should scrap the hydraulics, or that they're pointless.

hydropneumatic and hydractive were losing the ride quality as people kept complaining about it not being "sporty" or similar, and buying something else. citroen made it gradually stiffer as you were complaining.

do you really, honestly, believe they would find it THAT had to make a new magic carpet?

the claim that it can't handle properly is only made by those who have either never heard of, been in, or owned, an activa. or, to be frank, driven a non-activa properly. if you find that "it just rolls and understeers", you are driving it incorrectly.

conventional cars may have come on a long way recently, but they still catch speed bumps if there's something in the boot.

what are you going to be saying next? that you'll be glad when alfa stop making V6s?!

having said all of this, look at how many of them you see around. most people don't know what a proper citroen is like, and would probably find one really weird as all their experience of cars has been skateboards with solid seats.

if i were running the show they'd all be activas.

6 September 2014
Well said russ13b. Has everyone forgotten that a variant of this suspension was banned in world rallying with Citroen using it and winning too often with it, and that Mclaren Cars, a small company some readers may have heard of, currently uses it to achieve "unmatched" ride and handling in all their road cars? And that previously the only other marques to feature it were Mercedes Benz and Rolls Royce and sister brand Peugeot? And Top Gear thinks highly of it.
And yet the idiots in charge at Citroen want to give up this unique marketing point which would sell cars for them even if the suspension worked no better than normal, except it does work better as Mclaren and the WRC show.
And it did work in the original DS, and was the main thing that marked that car as different- and uniquely Citroen. Not the funny grille, or chrome flourishes, or 'market positioning' And wouldn't a good ride be a nice selling point in their biggest market, China with it's myriad poor roads and chauffeur drivers?
Is the DS brand to stand for less than it could, or should? Is this what the engineering and styling innovators that framed and defined the current brand deserve as a legacy? Is this what the reputation of France, itself deserves? A thin surface layer of image wrapped over mediocre mechanicals like a '70s Datsun or a fake Louis Vuitton purse? Is this lazy lie what Citroen is reduced too? Is this what their customers deserve and pay for? We deserve more. We deserve what Citroen is capable of, not what they can get away with.

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