In conversation with Béatrice Foucher, CEO DS Automobiles

July 11, 2022

1: DS Automobiles has been in existence since 2015; is the brand meeting the expectations set then?

“Our first priority at the time was to split off from Citroën. With the right communications, we then created awareness among consumers who are in the market for a premium car. It did. In 2018, we presented the DS 7 Crossback, our first fully in-house developed model. Consumers knew how to find the car, as in Europe the DS 7 Crossback captured a 19% market share in its segment. While the market itself had actually shrunk by 21%. So yes, DS is meeting all expectations so far, we are being seen.”

2: By 2024, DS Automobiles will offer only all-electric models; are you on track?

“Every current DS model already has an electrified version, plug-in hybrid or pure electric. With this, we recently achieved the lowest averageCO2 emissions of the thirty best-selling non-100% electric car brands in Europe. Electrification remains central to our strategy.”

“In 2024, we will introduce a Battery Electric Vehicle on a brand new platform,” continues Béatrice Foucher. “From that year onwards, we will only deliver models with 100% electric drive. In Europe we already sell more cars than, for example, Lexus, a brand that is also fully committed to electrification. We also do better than Jaguar, by the way. Apart from electrification, style, comfort and technology are the main reasons for choosing DS Automobiles.”

3: The increase in electric cars is causing wait times for public charging points in the Netherlands due to capacity issues; is this something DS is concerned about?

“In the Netherlands, many more electric cars are sold than in most other European countries. It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg story; I believe the network will grow along with it. What’s more, these are public charge points, while DS drivers often have their own charge point at home. The most important thing for us is the charging facilities along the freeway; a DS driver must be able to cover long distances in comfort and without worry.”

4: The consumer is changing. It needs to be faster, more accessible, online and without becoming owned by anything. How is DS Automobiles responding to this?

“Certainly, we too are moving in the direction of online sales, but to experience the pure luxury of the DS models, a visit to the physical dealer is incredibly important. They will not disappear. We produce in relatively small numbers and our customers are not yet waiting for a fully digital purchase. What we will do in the long term is offer flexible subscription forms, with an exchange guarantee.”

New DS 7

5: In which European countries is DS most popular?

“In first place France. The DS 7 Crossback was the country’s number one premium SUV here until last year. Its market share is almost 40% in its segment. Some 87% of all buyers are men, the vast majority of whom have left home. Following France are Italy, Spain, Great Britain and Germany. In the Netherlands we are becoming more popular and now sell more cars than Lexus, for example.”

6: What makes the new DS7 so special?

“At least the lighting, which plays an important role in the new DS7. The striking LED lights at the front and the beautifully sculpted rear light units with pixel technology are unprecedented in its class. The new front end makes the DS 7 more akin to the DS 4 and creates a clearer family face. Together with the beautiful materials, craftsmanship and new powertrains, this makes the DS 7 a very attractive premium SUV.”