Coming To America: Citroen Considers DS Brand Relaunch In The USA By 2020
Updated September 21, 2015
Citroen is a French automaker that’s famous throughout the world. Some people consider the company to be one that builds vehicles with unusual styling. While others know the firm for its tech innovations.
The company’s main market is in Europe although it does have a few global operations too. But one thing’s for sure; Citroen doesn’t have a presence in the United States. At least, not since they quit the US market back in 1991.
American fans of the French automaker may be in for a real treat soon. That’s if hints from Citroen’s headquarters become reality. Citroen fans may know that the company is developing its DS line of luxury vehicles.
At present, they are splitting DS from the Citroen family to make it a separate brand. It’s something that Toyota have done with Lexus, for example. Citroen has plans to launch hundreds of exclusive dealerships in the principal cities around the world. They are aiming to open up showrooms in affluent areas to better target their chosen demographic.
Citroen knows that the US market is the biggest auto market in the world. And it’s a market they are keen to re-enter. Except, in this case, only the luxury DS brand will get sold on American shores. There are no plans to introduce Citroen and sister company Peugeot’s cars in the United States.
DS models to sell in Citroen showrooms… for now
While the French automaker is building up a new brand and building new showrooms, DS models will continue to get sold alongside their Citroen counterparts.
That means when you go shopping for a Citroen at Carcogroup, for instance, you’re likely to spot DS models there too. Of course, it’s also a question of money as well as brand recognition.
To re-enter the US market, the new DS brand needs the money to do so. Apart from opening new showrooms, they will also have to pay for expensive US DOT fees to crash-test their new models. Some of you may remember that Citroen quit the US market for precisely that same reason!
New DS showrooms
The CEO of the new DS brand, Yves Bonnefont, has hinted at plans to launch DS in the United States by 2020. At the time of writing, the new DS brand is taking advantage of the Chinese market. There are over 100 showrooms selling rebadged Citroen DS cars over there.
As you can imagine, it is something of a mammoth task to rebadge existing models, build news and launch the brand in many countries around the world. That is why Bonnefont has given a long lead time to re-enter the United States auto market.
The rebranding strategy will need some careful thought in some markets though. For example, the United Kingdom is a popular market for Citroen cars. But some models that will get rebadged as DS might not sell well over there.
Take the DS4. Eric Apode, VP of Products and Business Development, said, “sales of the DS4 [in the UK] have been disappointing.” Talking to Car Dealer Magazine, he added that the likely reason was that the car was too similar to the Citroen C4 model.
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