Sunday 25 September 2016

In the lap of the Goddess as DS ploughs its own furrow

John Galvin

Published 27/05/2015 | 02:30

Vintage Citroen DS
Vintage Citroen DS
The new Citroen DS5

SIXTY years after the launch of the original DS19, Citroen are giving us the chance to buy a Goddess - with the launch of DS as a separate brand.

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Introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1955, the DS (pronounced Déesse in French and meaning Goddess), was years ahead of its time.

For example, it had advanced aerodynamics, pneumatic suspension, disk brakes and a semi-automatic gearbox.

It's this spirit of innovation that Citroen want to capture with the new brand.

To launch it, we assembled at the Tuileries Gardens to celebrate DS Week, which culminated last Sunday with a procession of more than 700 original DS through Paris, finishing with a display in Place de La Concorde.

Throughout the week an exhibition detailing the DS story, past and present, was set up in the Tuileries.

It's a pity this isn't a more permanent space, as it was a fascinating look at the history of one of the most iconic cars ever produced.

In its 60 years, the DS has been filmed countless times, has been associated with major French and international stars and has transported more French presidents than any other marque.

With the launch of the new brand, 200 DS stores will be established.

Not only will these high-end boutiques sell the DS lifestyle, they will also take orders for a new DS, averting any need or necessity to visit a dealer.

We had a glimpse of what they will look like; it was more high-end luxury shop than car showroom.

Most stores will be set up in emerging markets such as China, although at least one will come to Ireland at some stage. It's all a part of the move upmarket, and it is a process that will take its time.

The first product of the DS brand is a mildly face-lifted DS5.

We tried it in both automatic and manual guises and found it to be a tidy, comfortable car to drive.

The interior is unchanged, which is good, as it's one of the nicest cockpits around, with aircraft inspired styling and thoughtful details crafted with lovely materials.

Although the ride has improved immeasurably from the first DS5, it's still not as pillowy smooth as a DS should be.

As it stands though, the DS is an interesting plank in Citroen's move upmarket. We're told that 50pc of all profits in car manufacturing come from the top 10pc of the market.

So with the DS brand, Citroen are clearly looking for their slice of that tarte citron.

Indo Motoring

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