Peugeot Citroen’s recently split-off premium brand, DS, says it already competes with its German luxury competitors in terms of product, while it seeks to raise its brand value in the coming years.
Speaking exclusively to CarAdvice at the Frankfurt motorshow today, the CEO of DS, Yves Bonnefont, admitted that his brand is currently stuck in the middle between mainstream and premium.
“We are kind of between at the moment, [but] we want to be premium.” Bonnefont told CarAdvice.
"Now, in terms of perception of the brand we are a little bit in between, and of course our ambition is to raise the profile of the brand.”
According to Bonnefont, the French company’s own market research shows that DS buyers are very ‘proud’ of their ownership. However its premium status is yet to take a proper foothold.
“I don’t know, [but] the important modification and product enrichment we are bringing to our current range are really deep for the car. When you take a new DS5 or DS4, frankly they have nothing to be shy about versus our premium competitors.” Bonnefont said when asked if DS could currently compete with the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
It won’t be until 2018 that DS will legitimately become its own independent premium brand, launching a vehicle that is entirely its own and not sharing too much commonality to parents Peugeot and Citroen.
But, until that happens, DS will continue to differentiate itself.
“Today many of the powertrains we offer on the DS4 are not available on the other brands of the group in the same configuration or the same level of power in the segment," Bonnefont said.
"So that’s something. For example, if you take the 180hp diesel automatic gearbox, we are the only one in the group to have that in the C segment.”
“The purpose of the premium brand is to be leading in terms of technology. That is very important. There are things we offer that are unique in the segment. If you take our full leather dashboard, its unique as well in the C segment, not only in general brands but even our premium competitors don’t offer it in the C segment.”
DS plans to launch 200 independent stores around the world by 2020, some of which are likely to include Australia’s major cities.