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Citroen ditch DS to focus on vans

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Citroen has given up on its struggling DS luxury brand in Australia – at least for now.

The Fench brand’s new local operator Inchcape has confirmed that it will place its luxury offshoot, DS, on hiatus as it looks to target the booming light commerical market with its range of Citroen vans.

Inchcape CEO, Nick Senior, revealed that the brand will look to capitalisse on the success of the Berlingo small van and to grow its stable of larger Dispatch and Relay vans.

“There’s going to be a huge ramp up of focus on light commercial vehicles, for this is a hugely untapped market,” said Senior. “Rather than confusing buyers, all light commercial vehicle will be marketed under the Citroen nameplate.”

The new direction for the brand, which has sold only 317 vehicles in 2017 up to July, will focus on the commerical vans alongside the passenger car and new SUV range. The all-new C3 light car confirmed to arrive locally in October and will sit alongside the C4 Cactus SUV and Grand C4 Picasso people mover.

“Citroen, we see as an opportunity in terms of funkiness, a younger audience for the passenger cars which you see with the C3 and Cactus, etc.” said Senior.

Citroen also has the C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross SUVs coming down the pipeline soon but Inchape has not made an official comment on that models future yet.

DS Automobiles has also come under scrutiny as part of Peugeot Citreon Australia’s (PCA) review of operations with the decision made to cease importing for the immediate future. This comes despite the DS brand unveiling its first SUV, the DS 7, earlier in 2017 with initial plans to have it on sale locally by 2018.

PCA plans to reasses where it is at with DS in 12 months time, but extremely slow sales of the DS3, DS4 and DS5 locally don’t bode well for the brand’s future.

“DS, that’s an interesting one, and we’ve had preliminary discussions on DS,” said Senior .

“On the basis of learning to walk before we run, we’ve said that we’ll revisit DS mid-next year, so we will sit down at that time and have a discussion with the factory about DS.

“Let’s get 12 months under out belt with this [Peugeot and Citroen] and show some credentials before sitting down at the table.”

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