The DS 7 CrossBack, the first new addition to the DS range since the 2011 DS 5, heralds a new era for the PSA Group’s premium coat of arms. A new era of products that will definitively cut the cord with Citroën, the old mother brand.
A refocusing that will have to convince
The DS Automobiles range in 2015
First introduced at Citroën in 2009 with the DS3, the DS line was quickly expanded with the DS4 (2010) and DS5 (2011). This premium-looking line, which has been well received, has had an encouraging start, which has led the PSA Group, despite the turmoil, to make it a brand in 2014 in China and in 2015 in the rest of the world. Unfortunately, no other model had been developed, so the new DS brand had to be satisfied with clumsily plastering its three models with a new grille. With interest in the DS 4 and DS 5 shrinking a little more each year, most of the sales are now made with the small DS 3, which is reaching the end of the line. Certainly, in China, the brand offers a wider range. But the compact DS 4S, DS 5LS sedan and DS 6 SUV were designed for the Chinese market, with quality criteria that make it impossible to import or produce them in Europe.
Today, DS Automobiles is entering a new era, and the investments made in recent years will be reflected in the renewal of the range and the presentation of new models. This is the one that embodies the new beginning of DS Automobiles. As the current trend is, it is an SUV, from the D segment: here is the DS 7 CrossBack, presented at the Geneva Motor Show a few days ago. The bling-bling style to which the brand has accustomed us is still there, but the excessive chrome is now much better integrated. As a result, the overall impression could remind us of some of the achievements of Infiniti or Lexus. References that are far from being ridiculous. But there is also the influence of the recent DS concept cars (Divine DS or E-tense). The wide “double wings” grille and the pronounced 3D-style taillights should thus become recurring elements. Inside, the work done to integrate the latest technologies and original materials deserves to be highlighted. But there is a problem: apart from the hybrid proposal that will arrive in 2019, the range of engines certainly in vogue is far from being “premium”, and the absence of all-wheel drive makes a bit of a task in the targeted category….
The transition from the first wave of DS “made by Citroën” to the second wave of “real” DS has therefore begun. Indeed, DS Automobiles’ strategy for its future achievements is really to emancipate itself from the Citroën brand. In that respect, let’s admit that the DS 7 CrossBack has succeeded in its bet. But does his design embody the top-of-the-range French style, this “French Touch” so coveted by the new brand? Will the clientele, for the moment rather French, recognize themselves in it? And will other markets be sensitive to this refocusing? The presentation of the new DS 3, by the end of the year, may give us a more precise answer…