In a bloodless European market that fell 14% in the first half after a terrible fiscal 2021, DS stands out with a 10.7% increase in revenue.
Even if the numbers remain low in absolute terms – 20,730 cars sold, i.e. less than the almost 29,000 Porsche – the French manufacturer is one of the few generalists, alongside Kia, Hyundai and Dacia, who can currently keep up.
She owes this breath of fresh air to her new compact sedan DS 4, which has gotten off to a good start. Beautifully designed, refined and equipped with a state-of-the-art plug-in hybrid engine, it offers performance on par with the German competition.
The same goes for the DS7. On the occasion of its recent restyling, it has dropped the Crossback name. With its 360hp hybrid block and its most refined presentation, the three-tone premium SUV doesn’t have to be inferior to more established brands either.
The luck of DS also lies in electrification: it will soon be over, the time when German brands could boast of their powerful thermoblocks, which gave complexes to the competition.
With the end of thermal power announced for 2035, “zero emissions” engines (at least partially) reset the counters to zero. While electrified models already account for 40% of sales, DS is accelerating and won’t launch 100% electric models until 2024.
Does this mean that the bet which was to establish a top class label Made in France is about to win? We won’t go that far just yet, especially as the DS4 and DS9 are respectively assembled in Germany and China, a country the brand has relied heavily on and where the failure is evident.
However, if the course takes a long time to impose its credibility on the automobile, the premium French branch of the Stellantis galaxy (14 brands in total) navigates with a certain skill.
Certainly the DS3 Crossback works no wonders against the formidable Audi Q2 and other Mercedes GLA. Nor can the DS9 build on 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 the means to fulfill its ambitions.