Currently reading: DS weighs up new supermini to replace DS 3 Crossback
French premium brand ditched original DS 3 in 2019, as it pushed to capitalise on crossover segment

The boss of French premium car brand DS says a new supermini could be on the cards as it ramps up plans to renew its smallest offering, the DS 3 Crossback.

The crossover replaced the former DS 3 supermini – first sold as a Citroën – in 2019 in a bid to capitalise on the hugely popular and still growing B-SUV crossover hatchback segment.

But as the car maker looks to its next generation – especially ahead of its 2024 full-electrification plan – boss Béatrice Foucher told Autocar that she wouldn’t rule out a return to the 3’s roots, adding that the original 3 “was very successful in the UK”.

If it were to return, it would do so with an electric powertrain and sit on parent brand Stellantis’s STLA Small platform, which is due to be released halfway through the decade.

Foucher said: “We are working on the renewal of the DS 3, and when we say 'renewal', it doesn’t say that we will renew the car strictly as it is today.

“The purpose of renewing is to say: ‘Okay, we have customers [already], and we [are also] looking at some new customers we would like to talk to with a new car, and what would be the best product in order to do so?’

“[We need to] capitalise on what has been done. This is what we are thinking about for the time being.”

However, a smaller car comes with risks, said Foucher, with comparatively high production costs per unit, and therefore lofty retail prices.

She added that the brand would also have to look at what the market wants, as a new supermini would buck an automotive trend. Most firms, including Ford and Honda, have shifted their focus away from smaller cars in favour of more popular crossovers and bigger SUVs.

“At the end of the day, when looking at the premium market, it is more difficult to sell small cars than big ones, obviously because when you pay a lot for big ones, you have the status, and you have the volume for the price, so the cost for the volume is appropriate,” said Foucher.

“But when you have small cars, this is more difficult to argue. It means that it is always a difficult equation to have a small car while being a premium brand.”


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Will Rimell

Will Rimell
Title: Deputy news editor

Will is a journalist with more than eight years experience in roles that range from news reporter to editor. He joined Autocar in 2022 as deputy news editor, moving from a local news background.

In his current role as deputy news editor, Will’s focus is with Autocar and Autocar Business; he also manages Haymarket's aftermarket publication CAT.

Writing is, of course, a big part of his role too. Stories come in many forms, from interviewing top executives, reporting from car launches, and unearthing exclusives.

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124spider 5 August 2022

The original was different and new and fairly attractive.  The replacement was a bit dull and didn't capitalise on the things that made the first desirable. 

Andrew1 5 August 2022
There are several problems with replacing the original:
1. It was good but its succes in the UK had little to do with that. Just like Mini and Juke, Brits like to buy something different just to be in the centre of attention and claim they have complicated tastes. But it's irrational and you cannot predict if the next weird iteration will be a success or a total failure
2. The original had a fairly "sporty" suspension which doesn't go well with DS focus on comfort. Besides, it's hard if not impossible to make a comfortable supermini.
3. It will cost too much. Will it have all the tech in the DS4? If so, it will be too expensive. If not, what's the selling point, quirkiness?
4. The reviewers will inevitably compare it to the original and will say it lost its appeal. If course, they will omit to say they were wrong to give bad reviews to the original, initially. BTW, funny how cat reviewers change their star rating after they see the market response.

In my humble opinion: keep focus on easier markets and let the snobs buy their beloved Germans.

smokey5877 5 August 2022

There is so little choice in this segment, I own a DS3 and would have been tempted by a hatchback replacement. My choice is now Mini, erm, or Mini.

Andrew1 5 August 2022
I know. It's hard to sell a supermini these days. With rising costs the profit margins are very small, so they need to sell many to break even. This is unlike the DS9, for example, which has heafty margins.
Mini works first of all because, for various reasons, it sells pretty well, and because it shares its underpinnings with another model that also sells well, so it benefits from the economy of scale.
I absolutely love the DS4 and I'll probably buy one, but even that one is expensive. A new DS3 will likely feel, comparatively, even more expensive.
xxxx 5 August 2022

Go back to the original launch and the comments that followed price would be mentioned several times, way to much wonga, depreciation followed in the typical big French car way. Still at least very few owners were affected such were the pathetic sales. Another DS fail.

smokey5877 5 August 2022
xxxx wrote:

Go back to the original launch and the comments that followed price would be mentioned several times, way to much wonga, depreciation followed in the typical big French car way. Still at least very few owners were affected such were the pathetic sales. Another DS fail.

Not sure what you are talking about - you talking DS9 not DS3?