The recently unveiled DS 5LS is the first of three all-new luxury models that Citroën’s DS brand will roll out in China over the course of the next year. The French carmaker is planning a major expansion of the DS line that will also include an SUV previewed by the DS Wild Rubis concept and a flagship luxury model inspired by the Numero 9 study.
Citroën’s managing director Frédéric Banzet told Autoexpress magazine that China’s premium sector is a key market for growth and this explains the company’s big investment into a new DS plant in Shenzhen together with Chinese partner Changan. The plant has already started making the DS5 in September, with the new DS 5LS sedan to be produced from March 2014.
“During the downturn we went through some difficult times, and we had to prioritize certain projects. We had to back the investment in China, as the whole business is far too reliant on Europe,” Banzet said about Citroën’s focus on China.
The next model that will be produced in Shenzhen is the production version of the DS Wild Rubis SUV study in the second half of 2014, with the plant estimated to reach a maximum production capacity of 200,000 units by 2016.
Finally, the third DS model that will launch in China will be a large luxo-barge arriving in 2015 and inspired by the spectacular Numero 9 concept.
Citroën doesn’t rule out that some of these models, particularly the SUV, may arrive in Europe at some point, provided that build quality will be high enough. As for its European lineup, Banzet told the UK publication that the C5 mid-size sedan is unlikely to get a direct replacement model because of a huge drop in D-segment sales in recent years.
By Dan Mihalascu