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DS brand in holding pattern in Australia

Going, going: There are a handful of examples of DS models left in Australian dealerships, according Peugeot Citroen Australia.

PSA Group’s new Australian distributor puts DS brand on hold for at least 12 months

DS logo11 Aug 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

CITROEN’S new local importer, Inchcape Australasia, has confirmed it is no longer selling the flagship DS models here until it has time to work out a new strategy for the French car-maker’s design-focused premium brand.

Former Australian distributor Sime Darby Motors Group introduced a trio of DS models and had started the process of pushing DS as a standalone brand under the PSA Group banner.

This followed PSA Group’s 2014 global strategy to create DS as its own high-end brand to sit above Citroen (which would become the entry brand in the PSA empire) and Peugeot, which is destined to be the mid-range offering.

The Citroen C3-based DS3 light hatch and convertible was the first to arrive back in 2010 under another previous distributor, Ateco Automotive, well before the decision was made to separate DS from Citroen.

This was followed by the C4-based DS4 hatchback in early 2012 and the swoopy flagship DS5 liftback in late 2012.

Speaking this week at the media launch of the Peugeot 3008 SUV and the relaunch of the Peugeot brand Down Under, Inchcape Australasia chief executive Nick Senior confirmed that the DS brand was on hold, for now.

“We have (had) preliminary discussions on DS,” he said. “On the basis of learning to walk before we run, we have said we will revisit DS mid-next year.

So we will sit down at that time and have a discussion with the factory about DS.”

Mr Senior added that the new distributor was keen to relaunch Peugeot and Citroen in Australia first before determining the future of DS.

“(It’s) predicated on, let’s get 12 months under our belt with this and show some credentials before sitting down at the table,” he said.

Peugeot Citroen Australia product manager Felix Boulin confirmed there were only a few DS cars left in the country.

“They are in runout,” he said. “There are a few left, but we are not producing any new ones for Australia.”

Sales of DS models have slowed to a trickle in recent years, with the trio having their best results as Citroen models in 2013 when 204 DS3s found homes, as well as 114 DS4s and 100 DS5s.

Last year, previous importer Sime Darby sold 33 examples of the DS3, while the DS4 and DS5 sold 21 apiece.

While the plans for DS are in a state of flux in Australia, PSA Group continues to push the brand in markets such as Europe and China, while announcing plans for a model range expansion.

At this year’s Geneva motor show in March, DS ripped the covers off the DS7 Crossback hybrid SUV that will compete in the busy mid-size SUV segment.

Further models are also planned to replace the existing ageing line-up globally and the company has hinted at striking sportscars with the fully electric E-Tense concept from last year’s Geneva motor show and the Divine DS concept from the 2014 Paris show.

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