Yves Bonnefont made history this month. On June 1 he became the first CEO of PSA/Peugeot-Citroen's upscale DS brand. PSA's former director of group strategy is now tasked with elevating DS from a tiny-but-successful division of Citroen to a global powerhouse -- while further boosting profitability. Bonnefont, who rejoined PSA in 2012 after working as a management consultant, shared his plans for DS in an interview with Automotive News Europe France correspondent Bruce Gain.
DS is a stand-alone brand in China but in Europe it is a division of Citroen. How will DS become more independent?
In Europe, the success of DS would not have happened without Citroen. To exist in a market as large as Europe you need a very large dealer network, which Citroen has, so it would be crazy not to leverage this. We want to increase the visibility of DS throughout the network worldwide.
In Europe, DS’s only stand-alone dealership, DS World, is in Paris. What are the other sales models you use?
We have three formats for the DS line at Citroen dealerships in Europe: the DS Zone, DS Salon and DS Store. The DS Zone is simple, just a black floor with some special lighting. DS Zones are in place in 85 percent of our dealerships in Europe. A DS Salon has three or four models displayed on a dedicated floor space and there is a DS salesman. There are also DS signs outside of the dealership. It is not very different to Infiniti’s strategy. And, we have two variations of DS Stores, one that is very close to what Infiniti has with dedicated entrances and a wall separating DS and Citroen models.