FIRST CONCRETE RESULTS OF THE DS BRAND LAUNCH IN FRANCE
With 17,291 registrations in first-half 2016, the DS brand is seeing the first tangible results of its arrival on the premium segment in France. The range has been completely renewed over the past year, and the brand is demonstrating clear appeal to customers in search of original, exclusive models with advanced technology and refined styling. Volumes are rising across the range, with high-spec models accounting for over 80% of total sales.
The brand is set to roll out a dedicated operating network from 2018, and to expand the DS PRIVILÈGE Club service, for an even more exclusive customer experience.
“Our official brand launch was in March 2015 and in March 2016, we saw the arrival of New DS 3, the last stage in the complete renewal of the range. All the members of the DS team contributed to this major achievement, showing the extent to which passion and enthusiasm for new challenges are part of the construction of DS as a premium brand. Our distributors make sure that that buying a DS is unlike buying any other car. Buyers gain access to a unique customer experience, gradually deployed across a network of dedicated dealerships. At the end of this first half of the year, we can see tangible results, reflected in particular by rising sales for DS,” says Amaury de Bourmont, Sales Director, DS brand, France.
A review of the first half of 2016:
A FULLY RENEWED MODEL RANGE
The main highlight of first-half 2016 was the reveal of New DS 3 and New DS 3 Cabrio at the Louvre pyramid in the heart of Paris, in January. Launched in France in March, these chic, stylish, iconic vehicles express the identity of the DS brand, in the same way as the DS 4, DS 4 Crossback and DS 5. One year on from the official launch of the DS brand ̶ in March 2015 at the Geneva Motor Show ̶ the brand was able to line up a fully renewed range, the first key stage in the building of DS as a brand. A new range of vehicles, made in France, allying avant-garde styling with advanced technology, connectivity, refinement, attention to detail and dynamic hyper-comfort.
In April, New DS 3 gained a version of real sporting intent: DS 3 PERFORMANCE, available with both the hatchback and cabrio. Dynamic and distinctive, it quickly set the new standard in its class with 208 bhp of horsepower, 300 Nm of torque and 125 g/km of CO2. DS engineers pulled out all the stops to deliver exceptional traction and directional stability, giving the car a 1.6 THP S&S engine mated to a specially staged 6-speed gearbox (MCM) and a Torsen® limited-slip differential. Further, the running gear and braking system were fine-tuned to make the car even more agile without compromising on safety. To illustrate the vehicle’s advanced performance and play on the range of personalised options, customers can choose from an array of colours, including “Special Black” with matt black bodywork and a glossy Gold roof (on the hatchback), underlining the vehicle’s sporty, refined personality.
Continuing the roll-outs, DS launched a ‘spring collection’ of three limited edition vehicles: DS 4 Opéra Blue (March), DS 3 PERFORMANCE BRM Chronographes (April) and DS 3 GIVENCHY Le MakeUp (June). A select, exclusive collection allying know-how and refinement for models with real personality.
DS 5, the flagship vehicle, was also at the forefront of events, with DS CONNECT NAV in February. Customer features include real-time connected services accessible directly from the touch screen in the cabin, 3D information and ̶ above all ̶ voice control. Today, all DS 5 vehicles are equipped with this new-generation navigation system.
THE BEGINNINGS OF A BRAND WITH REAL POWER OF ATTRACTION
The No. 4 brand in the premium market rankings in France, DS posted 17,291 registrations in first-half 2016, a 7.4% rise over the same period in 2015. Sales are increasing for all models, particularly the DS 4 and DS 4 Crossback with a rise of 14.3%. This success can be attributed in significant part to the appeal of the DS 4 Crossback, a stylish vehicle designed for adventure. Launched in November 2015, it accounts for 30% of sales of this pair of premium compact vehicles.
Launched just one year ago on the French market, DS 5 increased registrations by 5.5% in first-half 2016 (vs HY1/2015). It is the second most popular hatchback in its class in France. More than 70% of vehicles sold possess an automatic gearbox and 85% are diesel models. The most popular version, accounting for 44% of sales, features a BlueHDi 180 engine and EAT6 automatic gearbox.
The most recent arrivals on the market, the New DS 3 and DS 3 Cabrio account for the bulk of sales, with 9,471 registrations in the first six months of 2016. New DS 3 is the best-selling premium city hatch. Two models in every three sold are equipped with a petrol engine and one in three with the PureTech 110 – named engine of the year in 2016 for the second consecutive year.
The results of first-half 2016 clearly show the appeal of DS range. We should add that for each model, customers frequently opt for the most exclusive, high-spec models, which account for more than 80% of sales.
A DS NETWORK UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND A CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE GAINING NEW SERVICES
With nine DS Stores and 32 DS Salons to date, the roll-out of a DS network is under way. The process is set to gather pace over the next two years with the aim of establishing a dedicated operating network from 2018. The DS Stores, whose role is fundamental in expressing the brand universe, are the equivalent of a luxury boutique dedicated to cars, with their own interior ambience (music, fragrance, play of light, colours, etc.) and customer-centric design. With a surface area of at least 250 m2, they have space for at least five display vehicles. The latest DS Stores opened to date are in Reims (north-east France) and Lons-le-Saunier (eastern France).
DS Salons are smaller versions of the DS Store. They have a surface area of at least 125 m2 and are located inside a Citroën showroom. The most recent are in Toulouse (south-west France) and Fontenay-le-Comte (western France).
This immersion in a dedicated showcase is part of the premium experience. In the case of DS, the experience continues after acquisition of a new vehicle through the DS PRIVILÈGE Club. Customers have access to a range of exclusive benefits with a private concierge service and made-to-measure events. In order to further strengthen the ties with its customers, the DS brand has been expanding its offering in recent weeks with more services, longer opening hours (Monday to Saturday, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm) and a membership period extended to five years. The website www.ds-privilege.fr has been upgraded to include new pages including one called ‘inspire me’, with personalised addresses and recommendations based on members’ requirements.
In terms of services, the DS brand is pursuing even greater ambitions! The brand is set to reveal its ‘customer experience’ programme at the next Paris Motor Show.