We in America are quite uneducated in the world of French cars. We got a few here in the past, but the last French cars we got were a couple of Peugeots that the brand stopped selling here in 1991. Brands like Peugeot and Citroen have stayed away from America ever since. However, it’s possible that they could come to the US quite soon with the luxury sub-brand, DS.
Citroen has been talking about breaking its DS brand off into its own premium brand since 2014, but didn’t officially launch DS cars until this year in China. According to Automotive News Europe, DS CEO Yves Bonnefont claimed back in 2015 that the DS brand would be coming to America eventually. However, there has been no official word of the DS brand making its way here and if it does make it here we have no idea when it will happen.
When/if it does happen, though, the DS brand will be a premium brand that will compete with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. It’s likely to do so in lower segments, such as the 2 Series and 3 Series segments, and not make it up to flagship level cars, like the BMW 7 Series. In China, DS sells a couple of small hatchbacks, the DS3 and DS4, and a couple of larger sedan/hatchbacks, the DS5 and DS 5LS, as well as some crossovers. The brand also showcased its E-Tense electric sports car at the Geneva Motor Show, proving that the brand wants to get into the Tesla-fighting game as well.
Citroen and its DS brand will face some struggles if it they do attempt to come here. Firstly, DS has to make sure its cars can comply to US emissions and crash standards, which can be considerably different from those in Europe. Then it has to establish a dealer network, something that isn’t easy. It’s been rumored that the French brand could partner with Toyota and share its dealership network, but that would probably do more harm than good as it would lessen its premium image by sharing showrooms with a lesser brand. It also has an uphill battle to fight against the bigger German luxury automakers, who’ve been establishing reputations in the US for decades now and have cemented clientele bases.
If Citroen and its DS brand do make it to the US, it could be successful in low numbers with people who want to shake things up a bit and get something different. However, DS is going to have to be on its A-Game and put out cars that are not only luxurious and of high quality, but they must also be unique and offer a fresh take on the segments that they compete it. So it will be interesting to see if DS does make it here, and hopefully it does, because all competition, regardless of how big or small, helps breed excellence in other brands. If DS can offer a new perspective on the luxury car in America, the customer wins and that’s the most important thing.