Monday 24 October 2016

DS builds on heritage

Martin Brennan

Published 31/05/2015 | 02:30

The DS5
The DS5

DS - the now a stand-alone premium car brand within the PSA network and no longer just an upmarket Citroen - is looking for a prime location here for a showroom as the new organisation has earmarked 200 cities worldwide, including Dublin, to set up luxury sales outlets.

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The South Dublin/North Wicklow region is one of the preferred locations near the capital as it is considered well-to-do and an area where there is something of a retail gap area within the organisation.

There is a global push to get the DS brand established and the plan includes setting up 84 dealerships in China alone where the PSA group has a big drive to grow sales.

The DS badge has had a proud heritage within the Citroen family for 60 years and the move to go upmarket as a new brand is in line with marketing strategies in other motoring organisations including Audi in the VW family, Lexus in the Toyota group and Ford, who this month is setting up five Ford stores to market the Mustang and Vignale in luxury surroundings.

Ford, however, has decided to retain the Ford badge on their new premium models, but the new trend is in line with the highly successful Apple Corporation's policy of dedicated stores where the closeted 'customer experience' psychology has paid off.

The new move is a profit-driven strategy as figures show that while premium brand models account for 10pc of sales worldwide, they account for 50pc of profit. There have been 80,000 sales of DS models since the brand was re-introduced in 2012. At least six new models are planned for production by 2020 - expect to see a new saloon and an SUV, while there is already a concept version of a DS9 coupe on show to compete with models such as the Audi A6.

To coincide with the launch of the new brand, a refreshed DS5 with loads of new technology and the latest Euro 6 compliant diesel engines was taking to the roads around Paris. It goes on sale here in mid-July in two trim levels and three engine choices. It will sell alongside the DS3 and DS4 which will get the new badging within a year.

The DS5 comes with a BlueHDI 120bhp engine in Elegance trim at €36,045, BlueHDi 180bhp (automatic) in Elegance trim at €39,645, BlueHDi 150bhp in Prestige trim at €40,745 and BlueHDi 180bhp (automatic) in Prestige trim at €43,045. At the top level prices it rivals Audi A4 and A5 and Mercedes C and E Class models so the DS team has a big task to woo customers away from the established German brands.

The initial plan is to sell 60 DS5 models a year with sales for all the DS models coming in at over 200 units a year. This figure is expected to double by 2018.

When the DS model was launched in 1955, the futuristic body design was the work of Flaminio Bertoni and it got rave reviews for its aerodynamic futuristic looks. The innovative technology set standards in ride and handling. It was the first mass-produced car with disc brakes. The original DS19 was secretly developed to replace the equally famous Traction Avant and when it was launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1955, 743 orders were placed in the first 15 minutes and the orders for the first day totalled 12,000.

DS is a punning name as DS is pronounced in French as "Deesse" - Goddess in English.


Sunday Independent

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