In an anemic European market, down 14% in the first half after a bad financial year 2021, DS stands out by sending sales up 10.7%.
Even if the volume remains very low – 20,730 cars sold, that is less than about 29,000 Porsches – the French manufacturer is one of the rare generalists, along with Kia, Hyundai and Dacia, to hold their own now.
It owes this headwind to its new compact sedan, the DS 4, which is off to a good commercial start. Well-designed, refined and equipped with a plug-in hybrid engine that is very much in tune with the times, it offers performance at the level of the German competition.
The same goes for DS7. On the occasion of its recent redesign, it has dropped the name Crossback. With its hybrid block of 360 hp and its more refined presentation, the quality tricolor SUV is also not jealous of the more refined brands.
The fortunes of the DS also lie in electrification: it will end soon, at a time when the German brands can strut their stuff with their heated power blocks that gave the design to the competition.
With the end of thermal energy announced for 2035, “zero pollution” engines reset (at least partially) the counter to zero. Therefore, although electric models already represent 40% of its sales, DS is increasing rapidly and will only launch 100% electric models from 2024.
Does this mean that a bet that included establishing a high-frequency tag? made in France is it about to win? We won’t get that far yet, especially since the DS4 and DS9 are assembled respectively in Germany and China, a country where the brand relied heavily on and where the failure is obvious.
Still, if the course is long enough to force its trust in the car, the premium French branch of the Stellantis galaxy (14 types in total) travels with some skill.
Indeed, the DS3 Crossback does not perform miracles against the formidable Audi Q2 and the other Mercedes GLA. Similarly, the DS9 cannot return to the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class.
But with a presence in 40 countries through a distribution network of 400 DS Stores, DS now seems to have a way to fulfill its ambitions.