PSA/Peugeot-Citroen plans to grab a 10-percent share of the Chinese luxury vehicle market by promoting its Citroen DS brand to personalities in fashion and design. PSA is aiming to sell 200,000 DS units in China in four years, after selling about 3,500 units in 2013, according to Arnaud Ribault, DS China's general manager. PSA commence production of DS vehicles in China in September 2013.
That would outdo Mercedes-Benz’s sales growth in China, where it topped 200,000 sales after five years of local production. "We have a lot of designers, people working in fashion" as customers, Ribault told Bloomberg in an interview. "Someone who is buying an Audi A6, I think will never buy a DS5." PSA, which intends to double its number of DS dealers to 100 by the end of 2014, is trying to build DS into a full-fledged brand that could help it in its bid to return profitability and compete in the luxury vehicle market.
Incoming PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares remarked that it may take two decades before DS can really compete with German luxury brands. PSA will commence selling the Citroen DS 5LS compact sedan in Beijing on March 28 at a starting pre-launch price of CHY149,900, making it cheaper than the Audi A3 that carries a base tag of CHY199,900.
Ribault said DS will appeal to a new generation of premium buyers who are "younger, more independent and more tasteful," who may be entrepreneurs or middle to senior management belonging in the 30-to-35 age group. PSA tapped French actress Sophie Marceau as the spokeswoman for the DS line in 2013, and has also featured Chinese actress Sun Li. The French carmaker is planning to roll out an SUV in the fourth quarter of 2014.