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PSA's DS aims for top brand billing

By Chris Wright | 2 November 2017

DS7 crossback will be sold through selected exclusive dealers who may sell other brands

DS7 'crossback' will be sold through selected exclusive dealers who may sell other brands

Citroen's upscale DS division is aiming to become one of the top global luxury brands, up there with other French icons such as Hermes, Gucci and Chanel.

It's a goal worth chasing, according to brand chief Yves Bonnefont, because the growth in sales of premium vehicles is outpacing the global car market. Premium, he said, would increase to 100m sales worldwide by 2022, up 21% from 83m in 2015.

However, he knows that it can take a while to build a premium brand and he is prepared to wait 20 years if necessary.

"Lexus and Infiniti have been around more than 20 years and Tesla is still getting there after 12 years, we have to be patient," he added.

The brand would be built, he said, around three pillars, products, customer experience and exclusive distribution channels.

The upcoming DS7 SUV will be the first model to be sold via exclusive dealers.

Bonnefont said: "Following that there will be a new DS model regularly and we will establish a new global dealer network. We are aiming for 400 dealers worldwide by 2018."

Some of these will be existing Citroen dealers but they will have to have an exclusive DS channel while other business will be considered.

Bonnefont said: "The important thing is that everything the customer touches is luxury. All dealers will be trained by us in Paris."

The luxury experience for customers will mean brand representatives being available to them 24 hours a day, providing guaranteed mobility and concierge services.

Bonnefont added: "The aim is to be among the top brands in the world and that does not necessarily mean automotive brands. We will have new products going into new segments and so we will be attracting new customers."