By the standards of mid-sized posh crossovers the Crossback a fine looking beast, and an obvious answer to the question of “how can we sell more cars in Europe?”
But it’s outside Europe that DS has to succeed if it’s going to be taken seriously as PSA’s third division. Premium carmakers can only focus on a relatively small part of any given market, and therefore have to cast their nets wider to achieve sales volumes. DS is already doing respectable business in China; indeed it already has a local SUV out there in the form of the DS6, built by the Changan Automobile joint venture. But if it wants to become a player in the top flight it is going to have to launch in North America, something the smart and sophisticated DS 7 seems ideally suited to helping it achieve.
It’s 26 years since Peugeot withdrew from the U.S. – Citroen and Renault having already thrown in the towel before it – and no French manufacturer has sold a car there since. PSA boss Carlos Tavares announced long-term plans to return to the ‘States last year, initially through a ride-sharing service that will probably use electric cars, then later through the organic creation of sales and distribution networks to bring in other models, over around a decade or so. At the time it sounded uncharacteristically tentative for Tavares, one of the industry’s punchiest bosses, and having seen the DS7 up close it now seems positively timid.