Automotive News Europe - April 2020 - 12
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE
DS CEO sees big gains for rebounding PSA brand from FCA merger
eatrice Foucher, a veteran RenaultNissan alliance executive, was named
CEO of DS Automobiles in January. She is
taking over PSA Group's premium brand
at a pivotal time. PSA's planned merger
with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would add
a struggling premium brand to the combined company, Alfa Romeo, which could
compete with DS for resources and attention. DS itself is just emerging from a sales
drought that followed its transition into a
stand-alone brand in 2014. Foucher shared
her vision for DS with Automotive News Europe Associate Publisher and Editor Luca
Ciferri and News Editor Peter Sigal.
Where does the DS brand fit into a
The first key point for me is that DS is a
growing brand with great success in Europe, where sales increased by 17 percent last year, even with only two cars.
There's no question about the future of
DS. In addition, DS, like the FCA premium brands, will benefit from the merger
because we will have a bigger basket of
technology to choose from. And we know
that technology development costs a lot,
so having more brands to support that
is a great opportunity for DS, as well as
FCA's premium brands.
What is your ambition for the DS 9
globally and in Europe? Which competitors are you targeting?
The ambition we have is to be present in
the premium D [midsize] segment in the
markets where this silhouette is relevant.
If we look at the figures, 25 percent of the
global premium market is sedans, including in China and in Europe. That was the
driver for DS to offer this body type as the
third car in our new lineup [after the DS
3 Crossback and DS 7 Crossback SUVs].
Will the DS 9 be built only in China?
Has the coronavirus outbreak affected the start of production?
It will be built in the Shenzhen factory
[which was reopened in late February].
What we need to do now is accumulate
the parts we need for the DS 9 to be produced, including components from sup-
Meet the boss
❚ NAME: Beatrice Foucher
❚ TITLE: DS Automobiles
❚ AGE: 55
❚ MAIN CHALLENGE:
Continuing to grow DS
as a European and international premium brand.
pliers that were halted due to the virus as
well as some suppliers from outside the
country. The ambition we have is that the
DS 9 will be launched in the second half
of this year.
What are your expectations for DS as
a brand in China?
We know the battle in China is very tough
for all automakers, including domestic
ones. We will continue to operate there,
producing and selling cars. Nothing will
change except that PSA decided to sell
the [Shenzhen] plant and operations to
another company [Baoneng Investment
Group]. We will continue our business
there, because we believe in the potential
of the cars we have in our lineup.
What percentage of your overall sales
For the DS 7 E-Tense [plug-in hybrid] it's
30 percent. On the [full-electric] DS 3
Crossback we are running at 18 percent,
which is also huge.
Do you have enough battery cell supply and production capacity to maintain that level of full-electric orders?
The trend we anticipate is between
15 percent and 18 percent for the DS
3 Crossback. We secured the battery
sourcing to achieve this kind of mix.
In France, the full-electric DS 3 Crossback is 315 euros a month with an
8,500 euro first-month payment as
part of the Free2Move three-year
lease. How many customers are picking this versus purchasing the car?
It's a way for customers to test the car.
That way they are reassured about how
to use the car and how to charge the
cars. Customers who can afford to buy an
electric car are not so young, so some are
reluctant to purchase. We need to be flexible because each case is different.
The Aero Sport Lounge concept is a
vision of a future full-electric midsize
SUV. How close is it production?
I would say it's a new direction but it
doesn't cancel what's come before it. The
Aero Sport Lounge is smaller in order to
be more efficient and have a lower drag
coefficient. We worked with the airflow to
be as aerodynamic as possible. The automotive industry's new challenge is to
save energy because batteries are expensive and heavy. The fewer we put in the
car the more efficient we are. ANE
Automotive News Europe - April 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Europe - April 2020
Automotive News Europe - April 2020 - Intro
Automotive News Europe - April 2020 - Cover1
Automotive News Europe - April 2020 - Cover2
Automotive News Europe - April 2020 - 3
Automotive News Europe - April 2020 - Contents
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Automotive News Europe - April 2020 - Cover3
Automotive News Europe - April 2020 - Cover4