Vehicle sales at Citroen’s DS line dropped 10 percent in the first half of 2014 to 63,789, no thanks to an aging product lineup and stiffer rivalry from refreshed competitors like MINI. DS became a stand-alone brand on June 1, 2014. DS saw its sales in Europe fall 21 percent in the period to 50,056 units.
According to Citroen, DS volume in Europe suffered from a contracting market in the segment where it competes, especially in France. DS, however, had some good news in the period in China, where sales surged from just 957 in first half 2013 to 10,482 units in the first six months of 2014.
DS will try to further expand by launching this September a new front light signature for DS3 and DS 3 Cabrio, new limited editions, new engines and its first SUV for China in September.
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen introduced the DS line in 2010 to help boost its earnings by appealing to customers who would shell out more money for high-spec models. PSA initially launched the DS3 and DS3 Cabrio subcompacts and soon offered the DS4, DS5 and DS 5LS compacts.
The brand will soon expand its lineup with the China-only 6WR SUV that was unveiled at the Beijing auto show in April. Boosting volume at DS is a vital part of a turnaround plan by PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares – dubbed as Back to the Race.
He even appointed Yves Bonnefont, PSA's former director of group strategy, as CEO of the new DS brand in June. Bonnefont is in charge of transforming DS from a small-yet-successful division of Citroen into a global brand.
IHS Automotive analyst Ian Fletcher remarked said Tavares’ anti-discount strategy as well as the brand’s aging lineup may have hurt sales. In contrast, rival carmakers are offering updated or revamped models. [source: automotive news europe - sub. required]