Citroen and Peugeot are hugely popular brands in China. But so far, the cars on offer have not achieved the market share to go along with all that admiration.
Step forward, Citroen's high-fashion DS brand. With a logo that looks like French designer couture, the exteriors and interiors of many current Citroen models become far more stylish and appealing. The 5LS sedan is a great example of Citroen's re-alignment toward not only having a fashionable brand, but selling hundreds of thousands of that car in China's extremely competitive market.
WIth every brand on Earth trying to tap the same "Cuppies" (Chinese Yuppies! Just made that up:), there is a real advantage to having not only style, but cars tailored directly to this market.
That means basically the opposite of the ubiquitous 1990s Passat and Jetta models, which are still made and sold in China side-by-side with the latest Volkswagen cars.
But among trendy Chinese, the old Passat and Jetta are best-known as as a Taxi driver's car. Which is not sexy or trendy like a Luis Vuitton bag or Chanel dress.
But they have all the appeal of a Chevy Caprice among young people -- those old models do not reflect Chinese buyer's aspirations.
Citroen and Peugeot cars really do. Smooth rides, fantastic cabin ambiances, and a wide portfolio of diesel engines make these French brands quite a potential grower in China. The firm hopes to quadruple its current market share, which is ambitious.
And while naysayers might not like the recent 28-percent stake bought and shared by Dongfeng (14-percent) and the French government (14-percent), there are some real upsides to balancing the odd and misguided strategies of the Peugeot family -- whose stake is now down to an equal 14-percent as well.
Three leaders in a bed is never as comfy as one or two, but here is why this is great news for Citroen and Peugeot: far better access to, and understanding of, hip young Chinese professionals. Upwardly-mobile, too!?
Yessir. Thanks to the DS brand, Peugeot Citroen has a real chance to excel in China.
Citroen DS 5LS
Citroen DS 5LS R
Other Citroen models and concepts from the Geneva 2014 show, which will also be heading to Beijing, are shown below.
There is definitely a cohesive family look these days, also, which will help the brand's continued ascent into the top rungs of China's car shopper awareness.