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Citroen starts to split off its DS luxury label

Goddess: The DS brand is already outselling its Citroen counterpart in some segments and there are plans to expand its model line-up to take on Audi.

Updated DS5 strips Citroen’s double chevron from the grille and goes its own way


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16 Jul 2015

THE first car to split DS from its parent Citroen has been confirmed for launch in Australia, with the refreshed DS5 luxury hatch arriving in November this year.

The DS5 – launched in Paris five weeks ago – is the precursor to a roll-out of DS-badged models including a flagship saloon, rumoured to be dubbed the DS8 that is expected on the market in 2018.

The 2016 DS5 is a makeover of the existing model, employing a new front-end design that banishes the Citroen chevron badge and replaces it with a bold chrome DS logo.

A new suspension tune aims at creating a cushioned ride in an attempt to replicate the hydro-pneumatic system of the original DS models built from the mid-1950s.

Rumours from Citroen insiders indicate that this original hydraulic suspension is to be retired, although the company has not made an official comment.

It also receives a new infotainment system with access to a larger app portfolio, and sequential turn indicators for extra theatre.

Citroen will also launch a limited-edition model to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the DS model.

But the arrival of the DS5 does not mark a split in the identity of the sub-brand in Australia. In China and in France, the Citroen and DS products are sold and marketed separately. As previously reported, this division is planned to be rolled out around the world.

Citroen Australia PR and communications manager Tyson Bowen confirmed that the timing for any split between the brands was still being finalised by Australian distributor Sime Darby Motors.

“We have one chance at this and we want to get it right,” he said.

“There needs to be a growth in distinct products to make the separation work properly. It doesn’t necessarily mean separate dealerships, though in the long term that would be ideal and could mirror the way it is done in China.”

The chairman and CEO of PSA Peugeot Citroen Carlos Tavares said in an interview with Car Magazine in November last year that the DS brand would begin its focus in China and Europe.

“We need to have very consistent brand positioning and design – and from 2015, make sure there are specific design and attributes for DS which will disconnect entirely from Citroen,” he said.

“From 2015, you will start being able to recognise DS as a specific brand, with its own particular design signature.

“It’s not all about technology and engineering, it’s about artistic feeling and creativity, style, design and sophistication. Why? We are the only French guys who can do it.”Automotive News Europe is reporting that the rumoured DS8 flagship sedan will launch in 2018 and be sold initially in China before a European roll-out, and is said to take its design language from the DS-badged concepts including the 2012 Numero 9 and the 2014 Devine DS.

The DS8 will be based on PSA’s EMP2 platform also used for the Peugeot 308 small car and Citroen’s C4 Picasso models, but expanded to make the saloon rival the Audi A6 in size and features.

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