By on October 6, 2014

DS_5LS_China_2014-04-15

The long-awaited return of Peugeot Citroen to North America could be in the form of their new premium DS brand, but don’t get your hopes up just yet.

Automotive News is reporting that the DS brand has ambitions to become a global premium brand – and according to DS brand CEO Yves Bonnefort, “and you cannot be global without the U.S.”

Bonnefort said that a decision wouldn’t be made until 2017, with sales not commencing until after 2020. Presumably, this would give PSA a chance to develop U.S. compliant models. DS models are currently based off of existing Citroen products, largely front-drive based smaller cars and crossovers.

Launching a new brand, and a premium one at that, is an incredibly expensive endeavor – figure about $1 billion by the time all is said and done. Whether it’s worth it for PSA to try and launch a premium brand in a mature market that has traditionally not taken to French cars is a matter that they’ll have to decide for themselves. Not long ago, PSA seemed to be on the ropes. Concentrating on their core business (mainstream cars) in their traditional markets (France and the developing economies of Africa, Asia and other European nations) might serve them better than a vanity project such as this.

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38 Comments on “DS Brand Could Spearhead PSA’s American Revival...”


  • avatar
    Pch101

    I’m sure that these marching orders are coming from their new Chinese overlords. If they are able to pay the cost of doing it, then they’ll do it.

    It’s very risky, though. In the 80s and 90s, the US luxury car market was still in transition, with the winners not yet determined. But 20-30 years later, the Germans have obviously won the prize. There probably isn’t any room for the French, who couldn’t succeed back in the old days when their odds were better than they are now.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I completely agree. However could this brand be later used as a another Trojan horse, a la using another Western brand as vehicle for Chinese assembled product in the US?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The Chinese are smart enough to know that the US is a tough nut to crack, and that a Chinese nut will fail miserably.

        They have acquired some of the minor brands because that makes it easier. But they don’t have access to great brands, so they have to settle for some pretty weak options.

        • 0 avatar
          John

          They haven’t had much trouble cracking our nuts in manufacturing in other areas, as WalMart demonstrates.

          I can see WalMart selling a $6,000 new Chinese car in a few years – heck, their new bank can finance it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I can’t see them being so cheap, figure +/- 2K of whatever the cheapest Nissan Note is selling for depending on configuration.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Cars are very different. Americans don’t mind throwaway goods, just so long as they aren’t on four wheels.

            If it was easy to get Chinese car brands into the US market, they’d already be here.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      It’s going to be a problem that everything they make is soft and FWD. Lincoln and Acura are currently doing this without much success. And anybody who does remember Citroen/Peugeot in the US (about 5,000 people total) is either 2% die-hard fan/collector, or 98% against unreliable French stuff.

  • avatar

    Who’s been awaiting this, besides one lonely Francophile art history teacher who spends 20% of his day scouring eBay for trim pieces for his 505 wagon?

  • avatar

    Who’s long-awaiting this, aside from some lonely Francophile community college arts teacher who spends 20% of their day hopelessly scouring eBay in search of trim pieces for their forlorn 505 wagon?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I am FIRMLY in favor of French brands in the US, as I have pictured myself driving a C6 for several years now (and yes I know it’s out of production.)

    That being said, isn’t PSA constantly complaining they’ve no money, and the Peugeot family is in trouble, and etc etc? I think we would be much more likely to see Renault in the US, since they’re partially already here in the form of Nissan, and Renault products are already rebadged as Samsung in S. Korea, which has very similar regulation to the US (since they want to be able to sell all their cars here).

    I just don’t see PSA coming here. And if they do, they’d be immediately relegated to a less-than-Saab level niche, which wouldn’t be worth the $1B investment. People aren’t giving up their Benz for something with a big D on the front ;).

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “The long-awaited return of Peugeot Citroen to North America…”

    Awaited by whom? The seven owners of old Peugeot wagons who haven’t discovered that you can buy car parts over the Inter Net?

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    French cars don’t have a very good reputation in the US. They are going to be hard pressed for sales when similar Japanese, German, American and even British models offer better build quality.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You know, if one of those established brands started a new line, or did all their lineup at once – and let the French or Italians design it, I really think they would kill in the sales.

      Acura is a prime candidate for this. Have a do-over and let Pininfarina or a Frenchman design them.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Last time that was tried it was a disaster. Remember the Sterling 825/827? An Acura Legend without the build quality. But, hey, the leather was nicer.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          That’s not what I’m saying. Using a French/Ital design house for exterior and interior is very different from building it in cooperation with them, which is what the Sterling product was. That was built by British people with British electronics.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      “French cars don’t have a very good reputation in the US.”

      French cars do not have any reputation at all in the US.
      Peugeot and Renault left 25 years ago, and Citroen left 40 years ago. That’s barely within the lifetime of a target demographic.

      If this comes to pass, it will play-out almost exactly like Fiat: a few geezers will bore us with the French equivalent to “fix it again Tony,” everybody will ignore them, and the product will succeed/fail on its own merit.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Are French cars the “New Fiat”? Same head scratching about quality and reliability appeared when Fiat merged ,then took over Chrysler. Then it was a “total fiasco” or “two failures merging”. French cars are beginning to make a smallish dent in Australia, but they do not by far have the reliability of the Koreans or Japanese

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The Simca’s and LeCar’s and the budget Peugeot’s didn’t leave a good impression, but the Citroen DS models did, especially with the air suspension. That’s why they’re calling the premium line DS. Lack of mechanics and a parts network did them in last time, so that will be the major cost of re-establishing Citroen in America.

  • avatar
    Daniel Latini

    A meaningful Alfa Romeo presence still feels like a long shot. This seems astronomical.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Yes, they will come, as soon as Iran holds the next Boyscouts Convention.

  • avatar

    Yes please I want one of these.

    http://www.citroen.co.nz/showroom/car-range/new-citroen-grand-c4-picasso/

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    The Citroen DS line of cars are very modern and competent. In 2011 I drove a rental diesel Ds4 in Europe and was very surprised by how well it handled ,even with the high ground clearance.Inside it was very quiet.It had front seats with back massage . The only issue was the rear door windows did not roll down due to the cars’design and the auto parking brake was not very smooth to disengage with the manual.Citroen opted for design over function.I don’t believe they will be in North America in the near future due to dealership setup costs.The PSA group has not cleared its financial hurdles yet.

  • avatar
    elimgarak

    The second family car we had that I remember was a Renault Encore – built by AMC.

    It was the first car I really remember (we had an old dodge k-car before it) so I will always have a soft spot for french cars.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    It think that if PSA does bring their brands over to the US, they would not fail due to their products. The products don’t have Japanese levels of perceived reliability but they do have good attributes. I don’t believe the US car market is brand saturated either, not even close.
    These cars would be some fresh air in an otherwise fairly uninteresting car landscape. Mostly dull, medium sized sedans where the only interesting cars are MINI’s, Fiat 500’s and Ford Mustang + competitors.
    I hope it happens. I would get me that 208 GTi.

  • avatar
    turvo

    At first glance that car in the pic looks like my wife’s 13 Optima.

  • avatar
    matador

    And, people will buy one of these over an Audi/BMW/Lexus/Mercedes why???

    They’re doomed.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      So they won’t look like the herd in Audi/BMW/Lexus/Mercedes. Do you realize how much the people who can afford premium cars want to stick out from the crowd, especially the crowd of others who can afford premium cars?

  • avatar
    mechaman

    At least it’s a prettier steal off the Fusionesque Sonata/Legacy. Less obvious too, but I think the market is already too saturated as it is here in the States .. and no one with a lick of sense will try a Yugo experiment again. Not here.

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