When is a luxury car brand not a luxury car brand? Possibly when it's a mainstream manufacturer in a posh frock!
Toyota makes the Lexus, Nissan makes Infiniti and now Citroen has decided to split its DS models completely to give us the premium brand DS Automobiles.
Like its Japanese rivals, Citroen spotted that mainstream brands that have a long association with workaday models just can’t win over those buyers who have a bit more cash available. Furthermore, so many people buy a car for its badge these days that they decided it would be easier to just set up a new brand.
The engines and many parts will be the same, but as we’re all daft enough to judge stuff by the logo it wears, Citroen, like other companies, double bluff us by sticking a fancy badge on the bonnet to disguise what the car really is.
And in that way, they hope to compete with the established luxury brands. VW does this, but they have snapped up other car firms so that they can sell cars to virtually every market.
An Audi A4, VW Passat, Seat Exeo and Skoda Superb are all very similar under the skin as they’re all owned by VW Group. Most of the time the badge is the only real difference, along with a little bit of tweaking to the engineering.
So back to Citroen and the DS. The DS was a 50s model and an icon from Citroen, so they’re using DS to define their premium brand.
These images of the DS Divine, a concept car, are said to be showing the world the direction that the DS is heading in. And to be fair, it’s a good looking car. If this is the future it could well be a bright one.
So, will the car buying public who are used to premium brands switch to DS, or will it just be Citroen drivers wanting to look a bit more upmarket?
Only time will tell if this experiment works. Maybe if the DS had started life without the Citroen badge when launched several years ago it would have been better. But for now, we’ll have to watch this space…