Monday, June 01, 2009

Citroen DS series

The image below shows the production version of the Citroen DS3. This car is kind of a upmarket version of the next Citroen C3. The purpose of this article and the next ones is to analyze a bit what Citroen is trying to do with this new DS range of cars. Yes, a range, or more specifically, a sub-brand since we will see more DS models from the French brand.

So why is Citroen creating a sub-brand or a series of particular models under the DS name? By the way, DS means “Distinctive Series”, an appropriate designation for this distinctive approach. The main point here is that Citroen is looking for more profit. Since they can’t sell their conventional cars for much more money than today because Citroen is just another mainstream brand like Renault or Volkswagen, they try to market a new range of cars that are more special and more… distinctive. Therefore the Citroen DS models will sell for a bit more money, are expected to appeal to people that spend more on optional extras and even personalize the car, according to the first configurators shown by Citroen. All of this is expected to bring more profit than the bread and butter models.

However, creating a new brand or even just a sub-brand is not an easy task and should require a massive investment. But the good people at PSA were smart enough to use an iconic model designation associated to the Citroen DS from the 60s of last century. So the Distinctive Series gets an iconic help from Citroen’s past. Well played, I think Citroen is on a good path here.

In order to assess the success of this strategy one must understand that it is not expected these new cars to be best-sellers. The best thing Citroen can have is to pay the investment in the new series, improve brand awareness and image and establish a new path that brings consistent profit in the future.

The first model seen below is not even the most interesting of the new range of DS models. It falls in a new category that also includes the Alfa Romeo Mito and future Audi models: the MINI-wannabe class. But the DS3 should do well: the design is interesting, cute and “bourgeoise”. And the interior is a highly personalized class act. In following articles we will look at other future DS models that are more interesting than this first iteration.

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