Exclusive: Citroen NZ launches DS as premium brand
It’s a major gamble when a car company launches a new brand, but as DS breaks away from Citroen, the French manufacturer is hoping for an easier road to success.
Driven was in Paris exclusively for DS Week as the brand officially promoted itself as a standalone premium line, ready to take on Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz and push its presence in the strong China market.
With five models set to be launched under the DS name, New Zealand will get the first three models – the DS3, DS4 and DS5 – early next year.
Citroen NZ’s boss Simon Rose was also attending DS Week in Paris, and revealed to Driven the company’s plans for when the premium cars arrive.
While major cities around the world will have stand alone DS showrooms, in New Zealand the brand will remain in Citroen dealerships for the time being.
Rose said the Citroen showrooms in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will be the first to include a DS Salon.
“It will be a very specialised areas with a different ambience and experience for the customer,” said Rose.
“For now that is inside the Citroen showroom rooms, and obviously we will break away from that in time. But for now, inour part of the world, in this part of the evolution of the brand, the DS Salon is what is appropriate.”
DS executives interviewed by Driven in Paris stated that the plan was the brand would be competitive against the German premium companies by 2020.
Driven asked Rose how he was going to promote the brand DS to Kiwis to achieve that directive from the Paris headquarters.
“It’s an evolution, it’s not going to happen overnight and I think it’s gong to be interesting to live through – it’s evolved very quickly,” he said.
“It’s an exciting brand, and I like the fact that it represents for a French flavor than perhaps the other brands and that comes from the French wanting DS to be the proud brand of Paris.”
In early 2016, Kiwis will be able to drive the DS-only branded cars when the three models are launched here.
Rose has decided that the company will only take one highly-specced derivative of each premium model when they are launched in New Zealand, with such standard features as leather.
He will also be working with his dealers to “evolve a set of services that are more applicable and in line with premium brand and buyers”.
In Paris, the DS5 was the first to have dropped the Citroen name, with a special anniversary model launched during DS Week as the company was about to celebrate 60 years of DS cars.
Driven was taken the officially DS Week evening launch in Paris in two DS classics – a DS19 and DS21 – with 700 DS cars on display next to the Louvre over the weekend.
Rose intends to use that DS history when the cars are launched in New Zealand.
“We have a strong DS following in New Zealand so we’ll probably link to do something with them at the relaunch and do something unique.”