The Paris-based automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG) is hoping to “carve a niche” in China’s luxury auto market by selling its DS brand to China’s fashionistas.
Peugeot’s goal is to capture 10 percent of luxury vehicle sales in China with the DS brand, according to Bloomberg. The company began manufacturing the cars in China last September and sold around 3,500 units in 2013. The company hopes to sell 200,000 DS vehicles within the next four years, and will focus its marketing the cars to people in fashion and design.
According to Arnauld Rimbault, DS China’s general manager, DS is also targeting entrepreneurs and middle to senior management in the 30-to-35 age group, a “new generation” of consumers whom he calls “younger, more independent and more tasteful.” To reach this core demographic, the company has begun to market its products on such popular online video services as the one run by Youku Tudou Inc.
The French automaker is no stranger to China, having sponsored Shanghai Fashion Week for the past four seasons. Peugeot is one of many foreign automakers with their sights set on China. McKinsey & Co. has projected that the China will “overtake the US as the world’s largest luxury vehicle market by 2016.”
According Rimbault, Peugeot plans to double the number of its DS dealers in China to 100 by the end of 2014. The company is also “undergoing a reorganization” in which the French state and Dongfeng Motor Corp., the company’s Chinese manufacturing partner, will act as strategic investors. Peugeot has also invested 9 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in a plant with another partner, Shenzhen-based China Chang’An Automobile Group, to allow for the brand’s projected 200,000 vehicle output.
Sales of the DS 5LS compact sedan have already started in Beijing, and a sport utility vehicle is being planned for sale later this year. With a starting pre-launch price of 149,900 yuan, the DS 5LS is more affordable than Audi’s A3, which starts at 199,900 yuan.
image credit: psa peugeot citroen