PSA/Peugeot-Citroen's decision not to sell the DS 6WR compact crossover in Europe is strange.
The car debuts at the Beijing auto show and is the production version of the widely admired Wild Rubis SUV concept unveiled at the Shanghai show last year.
The stylish vehicle will seek to capitalize on how Chinese consumers equate French cars and French goods with fashion and style.
PSA needs the DS 6WR in Europe. The company does not have a competitive compact SUV in its home turf, where sales of the Mitsubishi ASX-based Citroen 4 Aircross and Peugeot 4008 siblings are languishing.
When PSA's new CEO Carlos Tavares drove a DS 6WR prototype, he asked when the model was coming to Europe. He was not happy when he was told it wasn't scheduled for European sales, sources told me.
The DS 6WR won't be sold in Europe because it lacks a diesel engine, banned in China but a must-have in Europe, the sources said. The crossover also needs adaptations to comply with the EU’s tougher crash and pedestrian impact standards.
The DS 6WR will go on sale in China by the year-end. It will join the DS 5LS compact sedan as the second DS model developed solely for China where PSA is positioning the DS line as a standalone upscale brand with its own dealership network.
Some 13 percent of DS’s 123,000 global sales last year were in markets outside of Europe. Tavares wants that number to grow to 50 percent by 2016 and 60 percent by 2020.
China-only models such as the DS 5LS and 6WR will have a crucial role in achieving those targets.