2012 Citroën Numéro 9 plug-in hybrid conceptEnlarge Photo
PSA Group has a luxury brand called DS—the name is borrowed from the iconic Citroën DS introduced in 1955—that the French auto giant is building up into a genuine alternative to Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
And any genuine luxury brand needs a proper flagship, but right now the DS lineup consists of a handful of compact cars, most of which are offered exclusively in China. The most recent addition is a small SUV dubbed the DS 7 Crossback (shown below).
It turns out DS has a proper flagship in the works. Auto Express has learned the vehicle is set to arrive in 2020 to mark the 65th anniversary of the Citroën DS, and that the design of the car, tipped to be called a DS 8, has already been completed.
“The design is finished and I can tell you the car looks amazing,” Eric Apode, DS vice president of product, told the British magazine.
2017 DS 7 CrossbackEnlarge Photo
Apode hinted that the DS flagship won't be a traditional sedan, as the brand doesn't want to simply copy its rivals. This has led to suggestions that it will be a large hatch with a fastback roof not unlike the Audi A7 and Porsche Panamera.
Such a design was hinted at as early as 2012 with the Citroën Numéro 9 concept, which was rolled out to preview the future styling direction of DS models when the brand was still part of Citroën. Recall, DS started out life as a sub-brand of Citroën and only became a standalone brand in 2015.
Underpinning the flagship is expected to be the longest version of PSA Group’s EMP2 modular platform, found in the latest Peugeot 508 mid-size sedan. It's likely the model will be developed alongside a new Citroën flagship that's also expected to feature a fastback design.
DS is PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares’ key weapon 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 and Peugeot as the sporty, near-premium brand in the center. PSA Group has also recently added Opel (Vauxhall in the United Kingdom) to its portfolio of brands, making it Europe's second largest automaker (by volume) behind the Volkswagen Group.