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French auto giant PSA Peugeot Citroën is in the midst of forming a new premium brand called DS. At present the brand is focused on the Chinese market, where most of its models are sold, but slowly it will offer its growing lineup of cars in other markets, perhaps even in the United States at some point.
Despite its nascent status, the DS brand is getting into motorsport. It’s already linked with Citroën’s World Rally Championship program, and recently it signed up with Virgin Racing to form the DS Virgin Racing Formula E team. Now, in order to streamline its motorsport endeavors and bring all the separate efforts under the one roof, DS is forming a new motorsport division: DS Performance.
The new division, to be headed by Citroën motorsport chief Yves Matton, will also be responsible for research and technical development, particularly in the area of electric car racing technology for Formula E, the second season of which gets underway in Beijing on October 17, 2015. In fact, DS Performance is developing the electric powertrain for the DSV-01 race car to be fielded by DS Virgin Racing.
The second season of Formula E will have 10 rounds, with at least one of them, round six, taking place in the United States. The race will be held at Long Beach on April 2, 2016. The inaugural season of the pioneering electric car series was narrowly won by Nelson Piquet Jr., driving for NEXTEV TCR (formerly China Racing). The top team was e.dams-Renault.
“More than a simple R&D laboratory, DS Performance will stand as a true showcase of the technological expertise and avant-garde spirit of the DS brand,” DS CEO Yves Bonnefont said in a statement.
In case you’re not familiar with the DS brand, it’s a new upmarket brand inspired by the original Citroën DS. It’s PSA Peugeot Citroën’s key strategy to boosting profits, thanks to the higher margins on premium models. It sits at the top of a three-tiered brand hierarchy with Citroën serving as the mainstream brand at the bottom of the hierarchy and Peugeot as the sporty, near-premium brand in the center.