New Citroen DS, a Goddess or a lemon?

There was a sudden frenzy in French media this week as the word broke that Citroen was about to relaunch the mythic DS car model – an elongated luxury car with air suspension that carried President Charles de Gaulle on his official trips.

Collectors of the DS, a play on ‘deesse’ which means Goddess in French, were eager to see what would come out.

The double-chevron brand, part of Europe’s second-biggest carmaker PSA Peugeot-Citroen, had already tried to latch on the DS romanticism with its C6 model which is also a long, stylish luxury car with a smooth ride.

Well, yes, it is certainly about affordability these days with car sales in a free fall due to the financial crisis and carmakers lining up to ask for government financial support after the Detroit Big Three were bailed out by the U.S. government.

There clearly seems to be an appetite in the market for ‘retro’ models such as the Fiat 500, BMW Mini or Volkswagen Beetle.

But whether this movement to go ‘back to the future’ will get the industry back in the black remains a big question, especially if the new generation of the model does not resemble the original.

Jean-Louis Bidan, an owner of two of the cars that were made in the period 1955 to 1975, said he had expected the new car to have the typical large headlights and the its particular angular rear.

But the concept car model revealed on Thursday evening just steps away from the Elysee presidential palace, while called DS Inside, did not really look like a DS.

It is much smaller, for instance, does not have a long nose and its front is more in line with the C4 Picasso and recent C5 limousines.

Vincent Besson, head of products and markets at the Citroen brand, told Reuters that the carmaker had not wanted to remake the DS car, but to release the DS ‘Spirit’

He said it was all about ‘affordable desirability’.
Well, yes, it is certainly about affordability these days with car sales in a free fall due to the financial crisis and carmakers lining up to ask for government financial support after the Detroit Big Three were bailed out by the U.S. government.

There clearly seems to be an appetite in the market for ‘retro’ models such as the Fiat 500, BMW Mini or Volkswagen Beetle.

But whether this movement to go ‘back to the future’ will get the industry back in the black remains a big question.

After all the media hype about a new DS, fans of the iconic car might be disappointed. The only resemblance with the illustrious DS is the name, wrote Denis Fainsilber, car industry journalist for French financial daily Les Echos. What do you think?

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