|Premium brand in PSA Group|
|Founded||1955: from historical Citroën DS by Flaminio Bertoni and André Lefèbvre|
2009: as a premium sub brand of Citroën
2014: as a standalone brand of Groupe PSA
|Worldwide, except United States, Canada, Mexico, and South Asia|
|Béatrice Foucher, CEO|
DS is a premium automobile marque, founded and developed from French manufacturer Citroen. DS was first announced at the beginning of 2009 by Citroën as a premium sub-brand of the company, applied to certain of its models and running in parallel with its mainstream brand. The DS has been a standalone marque since 2015 (and since 2012 in China).
DS can be an abbreviation of Different Spirit or Distinctive Series (although the reference to the historical Citroën DS born by Flaminio Bertoni and André Lefèbvre is evident). The name is also a play on words, as in French it is pronounced like the word déesse, meaning "goddess".
PSA originally consisted of three automobile brands, Peugeot, Citroën, and the soon dropped Talbot, but none was considered a "premium" brand. Since 1976, PSA has experimented with differentiating the brands by price level, similar to Chevrolet/Buick or Volkswagen/Audi, but neither brand had the strength to justify premium pricing.
Groupe PSA decided to build on the design heritage of the original Citroën DS (1955-1975) by Flaminio Bertoni and André Lefèbvre two great minds in the history of the automobile. The DS line started with the Citroën DS3 in the beginning of 2010, a small car based on the floorpan of the new C3. The DS3 is based on the concept of the Citroën C3 Pluriel model and the Citroën DS Inside concept car, and customisable with various roof colours that can contrast with the body panels.
It was named 2010 Car of the Year by Top Gear Magazine, awarded first supermini four times in a row by the J.D. Power Satisfaction Survey UK, and the second most efficient supermini (Citroën DS3 1.6 eHDi 115 Airdream: True MPG 63.0mpg) by What Car? behind the Citroën C3.
In 2013, the Citroën DS3 was again the best-selling premium subcompact car with 40% of the market share in Europe. The DS series is deeply connected to Citroën, as the DS4, launched in 2010, is based on the 2008 Citroën Hypnos concept car and the DS5, following in 2011, is based on the concept car of 2005, the Citroën C-SportLounge.
According to PSA CEO Carlos Tavares, DS will keep using the same platforms and dealerships as other PSA models, but will distinguish itself from Citroën cars by using "separate manufacturing and engineering standards".
Their rear badge is a new DS logo rather than the familiar Citroën double chevron, and all will have markedly different styling from their equivalent sister car. Citroën has produced several dramatic-looking concept sports cars of late with the fully working Citroën Survolt being badged as a DS. Indeed, the concept car of 2014, the DS Divine, develops the Survolt prototype as the future sport coupé of the DS range.
In China, DS vehicles have been sold in separate dealerships since 2014. DS models for sale in China are produced by the Changan PSA joint venture based in Shenzhen. The DS 5LS and DS 6WR are only sold in China. With the facelift of the DS5 in 2015, the DS brand was also separated from the Citroën brand in Europe, and standalone DS dealerships are planned worldwide.
DS partnered with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Racing team for the second season of the FIA Formula E Championship. The team competed under the title of DS Virgin Racing, finished the season of 2015 to 2016 in third place, and fourth in the season of 2016 of 2017. For the season of 2018 to 2019, DS moved to sponsor Techeetah, ending its relationship with Virgin.