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Car and Driver: French Drop Resistance to U.S. Return – DS Brand to Come Here

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Citroen Devine DS concept

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No sooner have we told you about Renault’s thinly disguised ambitions to—eventually—bring the new Alpine sportscar to the U.S. than we can report another French automaker is seriously considering a return to les États Unis, in this case DS.

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Citroën DS logo

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You might be muttering Quelle? at this point, in which case a small reminder. DS used to be the badge that Citroën applied to its posher models, but was recently split into a separate sub-brand within PSA. It’s already publicly committed to introducing six new models by 2020 (a DS concept is shown at top), with rumors from inside the company that at least two of those are crossovers, and at least one will be an EV.

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DS already sells in China, and alongside Peugeot and Citroën in several South American territories, but a return to the U.S. would be a radical departure; PSA has had no formal involvement in the States since Peugeot pulled out in 1991. Although it won’t happen soon, it seems to be a long-term certainty if the company is to meet its key target.

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“It’s not on the agenda today, but we may come to it,” said Eric Opode, DS’s development boss. “We proposed a strategy to be in the top 200 cities in the world, and that is what we are following. Wherever there is a premium market we want to be, so in the future we will clearly be targeting those cities.”

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We’re reasonably confident that even a French list of the world’s 200 most significant cities would include several in the United States.

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Opode says the plan is to turn DS into a premium brand with an identity distinct from either Peugeot or Citroën, neither of which is likely to be returning to the U.S. any time soon. It is a process he acknowledges will take time. “Since starting DS one-and-a-half years ago we have made great progress,” he said, “but we are not prepared to talk about volume. We have no crazy ambitions, we want to stabilize the brand step by step, to create a robust brand with a robust foundation. We will not be a volume brand.”

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Or, in other words, French cars may be coming back to the U.S., but there won’t be very many of them.

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