PSA Peugeot Citroen chief Carlos Tavares has confirmed that the DS brand will be divorced from Citroen in Europe from 2015.
The desire to have DS standalone has been hinted at, speculated on and openly talked about for over a year now. While China began the separation of DS from Citroen this year with a raft of new China-specific models, such as the 6WR SUV and 5LS sedan, it wasn't entirely clear when similar moves would begin across developed markets.
"From 2015 DS will be disconnected from Citroen," Tavares told Autocar. Although DS will be engineered to "different standards", as well as having a more upmarket and avant garde sense of style, the two brands will still share platforms and, even, dealers.
The company's mid-term goal is to establish DS as a rival for Audi by 2020. Tavares cautioned that although "the products in the pipeline are extremely exciting ... we are not just going into premium as we're not going to be fighting the Germans with the same weapons".
In terms of sales numbers, the newly independent DS has a mountain to climb. Around 123,000 DS-branded cars were sold worldwide in 2013, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the nearly 1.6 million Audis sold last year.
"We have to be patient about sales and I don't want to measure success in this way. We'll measure it in per unit profit and making huge margins. This is a long run 20 to 30 year story," Tavares said.
Speaking at the launch of the DS Divine concept car, Yves Bonnefont, CEO for DS, told the British magazine that the brand's product plans envisage six global models.
Although he declined to be more specific and unnamed source told Autocar that these include a direct replacement for the DS3, a model to replace both the DS4 and DS5 and, possibly, a Fiat 500 rival. Currently the only DS models sold in Europe and Australia are the DS3, DS4 and DS5 hatchbacks.
It's not yet known when the DS range will begin to marketed as a separate brand in Australia.