► DS Automobiles future product strategy
► Georg Kacher opens his little black book
► The French get serious about alternative luxury
Six years since its foundation, DS still is a bit of a non-event. True, the funky DS3 is doing alright, but the bland DS4 has flopped big time, and the daring but flawed DS5 remains a pretty wallflower.
Add to this other downsides like the patchy dealer coverage, the ho-hum build quality and the blurred brand image, and it’s hard to imagine DS positioning itself to plan by 2020, somewhere between VW and Audi.
But that’s exactly what the French car maker is determined to do.
Not surprisingly, the DS product portfolio for the next five years lists only one familiar model, namely the next DS3 due in 2018. The remaining six products are brand-new, and some of them even seem to have got what it takes to fill that swooshy two-letter logo with real meaning…
Three new DS crossovers are coming
Out in 2017 is the mid-size DS X which dives into the parts bin of the Peugeot 3008.
One year later, our French informant expects the debut of the smaller DS W. You guessed it: this version will be twinned with the Peugeot 2008 Mk2 and the Citroen AirCross.
In late 2019 or early 2020, we should see the bigger seven-seat DS Y piggybacking the new 5008 which in turn will be twinned with the EMP2 matrix of the Vauxhall/Opel Zafira replacement named Grandland X.
SUVs: the key to unlock an American launch
All three models have been engineered with the US in mind, sources say. They will offer hang-on electric 4wd modules; 'we will never offer a car with mechanical all-wheel drive,' DS marketing chief Arnaud Ribault tells us.
Click here for more on DS's crossover splurge.
Whether it makes sense to use the widely unknown DS brand as a stepping stone for re-entering the world’s second-biggest new car market is of course another matter.
But one DS product which would likely hit the bullseye in North America is the DS7.
DS7: the French go back to their quirky luxury roots...
Built in France, not China, this new flagship model is claimed to pick up the red thread Citroen started losing in this segment when the original DS saloon was discontinued in 1975.
Earmarked for early 2018 and described as a ‘neo-sedan’ by its maker, the low-drag, high-visibility DS7 is supposed to assume the role of an avant-garde Audi/BMW/Mercedes alternative.
It’s a global proposal boasting a new suspension technology dubbed Aircomfort, an optional plug-in E-power pack driving the rear wheels and substantial advances in terms of ergonomics, connectivity and digitalisation.
DS4 and DS5 become one
DS4 and DS5 will likely be merged in 2019 and become The New DS5 which emphasises expressive design, clever packaging and innovative luxury appointments to move the needle from its predecessor (below).
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the revamped DS line-up is the DS1, an all-electric city car which should see the light of day before 2020.
Conceived especially for mushrooming mega-cities, this cute and funky four-seater aims at the gap between Smart Fortwo and Forfour.
Will DS succeed? Be sure to sound off in our comments below!
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