If the PSA Group ventures into the U.S., its new DS 9 flagship is being tipped as the most likely to form the vanguard of the market assault.
While neither confirming nor denying the mounting rumors that the French automaker’s probable merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could see its products on America’s streets, DS Cars product manager Vincent Devos tells Wards both manufacturers’ flagship models would be most likely candidates.
Speaking about the anticipated merger by phone following the cancellation of DS 9’s planned debut at the 2020 Geneva auto show, Devos says: “When it is done it will be a very interesting time to explore the possible opportunities. We would have to take the best of the PSA Group cars and the best of the FCA’s cars to go into the U.S. market.”
Designers had the premium offerings of German manufacturers clearly in their sights during the planning of the new car, which is the group’s largest sedan to date, Devos says. “When we were working on this a few years ago, our target rivals were products in the D-segment – sedan cars like the Audi A4, the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class,” he says.
“Mainly, we thought about this car as a long-wheelbase version such as you may find in China. So it’s a D-segment car with a longer wheelbase to provide more space and extra comfort inside the cabin.”
However, the luxury brand is not yet abandoning its sales plans for smaller-segment cars that would be appealing to what it sees as a growing market for high-end urban vehicles.
Devos explains: “Our strategy relies on a core product strategy, which means six new different models in the next few years starting with the DS 3 Crossback and DS 7 Crossback and now the DS 9. In this we want to cover the different markets as much as we can all over the world.”
Devos also hints the DS 9 eventually may be joined by an even bigger sibling as the brand targets wealthier consumers.
“We have to produce B-segment, C-segment and D-segment cars and even E-segment cars. We have to propose different silhouettes including hatchback, SUV and sedan. When you mix all these possibilities you find we will be producing many different types of vehicles,” he says.
“We have a B-segment SUV, a D-segment SUV and it’s possible to see an E-segment SUV in the future. However, in the short term we won’t be launching a bigger car than this (DS 9) for some years to come.”